With the warm weather finally rolling in, you and your family are probably itching to get outside and get into the community. Channel your fresh enthusiasm into Volunteer Appreciation Month this April! Gather your family and jump into volunteering to build your child’s appreciation of other’s efforts and make some great family memories while giving back.

There is no shortage of volunteer activities within most communities. Volunteering at school gives your child the opportunity to work alongside their peers, parents, and teachers. Community centers, shelters, retirement homes, and other local organizations are also places that accept volunteers; and always keep an eye out for special events that are looking for extra help. Giving back as a family opens up your children to different perspectives in the community, especially when they get to work with people from multiple age groups.

Volunteering helps kids and teens learn essential values, like caring and empathy, and a positive work ethic. And, these opportunities give families a chance to spend quality time together in a positive environment where parents can demonstrate important values and create a sense of community for their child. Remember to commend young volunteers for their work, taking on a new challenge, and lending a hand to the bigger picture. Recognizing their work can inspire new generations of helpers and encourage them to keep making a difference.

Continue reaching out into the community well past Spring and add volunteering into your family’s summer activities. Kids and teens can keep learning after school lets out, stay occupied and gain valuable experience during their free time.

Afterward each activity you do as a family, ask your children what they took away from the experience. Don’t be afraid to ask big questions to hear their bigger ideas. What was most fun about volunteering? What did they learn? Why do they think their work is important? What do they want to do next time? As you figure out the answers, appreciate the impact they’re making in their community and continue nurturing the joy of giving back.

 

For more information:

GenerationOn’s Family Volunteer Guide: http://www.generationon.org/parents/resources/family-volunteer-guide

Points of Light: http://www.pointsoflight.org/signature-events/national-volunteer-week

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