Walking? Check. Talking? Check. Reading? Check. New parents carefully track their kids’ milestones, keeping an eye on recommended timelines and breathing a quiet sigh of relief when things appear to be going as planned. When it comes to their kids (or themselves), ticking off a goal or working their way through a list assures them that they’re doing a good job. If your kids aren’t already involved in community service, after reading the below benefits of volunteering you’ll want to encourage family volunteering by adding it to your checklist. Why is volunteering important? Well, there are just so many important reasons to volunteer. I will go into more detail below provided 5 benefits of volunteering. I’ll also share some great ideas for family volunteer opportunities.
5 Reasons to Encourage Volunteering In Your Family
Volunteering for nonprofit organizations is a wonderful thing. Whether you choose to tutor underprivileged children, work with animals in need, or contribute to environmental initiatives, your commitment to making a difference reaches far beyond the individuals or causes directly affected. Your efforts ripple out into the world, inspiring others to join in the pursuit of positive change and creating a ripple effect that extends to corners of society you may never have dreamed of impacting.
1. Personal Growth
Engaging in volunteer work also presents an opportunity for personal reflection and self-discovery. Volunteering teaches valuable qualities like:
a) Empathy: no matter your child’s age, working with the less fortunate will broaden their concept of poverty and privilege. When you encourage volunteering, you take the first step to creating a more caring and socially active next generation. Volunteering exposes you to diverse cultures, experiences, and ways of life that can broaden your horizons, challenge your assumptions, and foster a greater sense of empathy and understanding. In this way, the impact of your volunteer work extends beyond the tangible results achieved and becomes deeply intertwined with your own personal growth.
b) Confidence: interacting with strangers (under parental supervision at first) and in strange places will show your child how much they are capable of accomplishing. With practice, shyness will fade away and your child will be able to feel comfortable in any environment. You child may find themself taking on new responsibilities, honing social skills, and even exploring previously unexplored passions.
c) Leadership: many volunteer organizations are looking for people to take charge in different ways. Whether it’s deciding where to put up flyers at age 8 or planning a fundraiser at age 18, volunteering gives kids the opportunity to become leaders.
Through volunteering, you can discover your own unique strengths and talents and use them to effect change in unexpected ways.
2. Job Experience
Even if your child is still in elementary school and the days of summer jobs seem a lifetime away, it’s never too early to start getting ready. As we can all remember, getting hired as a teenager without previous experience or recommendations (or connections) is next to impossible. Luckily, volunteering positions are happy to take on kids of almost any age and skill level. Not only does “junior event planner” or “volunteer cashier” sound great on a resume, but time spent working with money and people can only help your teen after they finally land the job. This is one of the most tangibly useful benefits of volunteering for teens before they apply to jobs, colleges, or career positions.
As you engage in volunteering activities, you have the opportunity to meet a diverse range of people from different backgrounds and industries. This exposure not only broadens your horizons but also expands your network. Through volunteering, you can encounter professionals from various fields who share a common passion for making a difference. These connections can prove invaluable in terms of career development, as they may lead to job opportunities, mentorships, or even partnerships.
Moreover, volunteering allows you to showcase your skills and work ethic in a real-world setting. As you commit your time and energy to a cause, you actively demonstrate your dedication, reliability, and ability to work collaboratively with others. These qualities are highly desirable in any professional setting and can position you as a valuable asset to potential employers or colleagues.
In addition to networking and skill-building, volunteering provides numerous opportunities for personal and professional growth. You can step outside your comfort zone by taking on new responsibilities, leading projects, or acquiring leadership skills. Volunteering allows you to develop qualities such as empathy, adaptability, and creative problem-solving – traits that are highly sought after in today’s competitive job market.
3. An Edge in College Applications
We know, we know- college applications are even further in the future than summer jobs. Regardless, applying for post-secondary education is a big deal, and when it eventually comes time to write those college essays, your kid will be grateful for all their community service. Colleges are only getting more selective as years go by, and in a close decision between two similar applicants, the teen with the most leadership and volunteer experience will have an edge. If you encourage volunteering as early as possible, your kids will thank you when senior year comes around. Volunteer hours are very valuable to prospective college students.
4. Scholarship Money
A huge number of scholarships are awarded on the basis of community service, so the “unpaid” hours your child puts in now could end up helping pay for their education. Encourage your child to start looking for scholarships as soon as they hit high school- not all awards are limited to Grade 12 students.
5. Helping Your Community
The most obvious benefits of volunteering? The welfare of your community and how good it feels to help. It is, after all, the place where your family members are growing up. Where would we be without soup kitchens, women’s refuges, or animal shelters? Give back to the city or town where you’ve spent so many happy days, and get your kids volunteering. It will feel great to do good and get involved with your community at the same time.
6. Boosting Mental Health and Well-being
Get ready to embark on a transformative journey where the rewards are as much about the positive change you create within yourself as they are about the difference you make in the lives of others. Engaging in volunteer activities not only allows individuals to give back to their communities but also provides a sense of purpose and belonging that can significantly boost their mental and emotional well-being.
When we volunteer our time and skills to help others, we experience a profound sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. Research has consistently shown that acts of kindness and altruism are intrinsically linked to improved mental health, including reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Moreover, volunteering can also alleviate stress and increase overall happiness. Helping others and focusing on their needs allows us to take a step back from our own problems and worries, providing a fresh perspective and a renewed sense of gratitude. By shifting our focus outward, volunteering can help us gain a greater appreciation for our own lives and circumstances, ultimately leading to increased happiness and contentment.
Additionally, volunteering provides unique opportunities for social connection and human interaction. Engaging in activities that serve the community allows individuals to meet new people who share similar passions and values. This sense of camaraderie and belonging can combat feelings of loneliness and isolation, which are known risk factors for poor mental health. By participating in volunteer work, individuals can also develop a sense of purpose and identity.
Family Volunteer Ideas
I’m going to list a few family volunteer opportunities and family volunteer projects here just to give you some ideas of what may be needed in your community. If you don’t find existing projects, you may even be inspired to start your own.
- Alzheimer’s & Dementia “Buddies”
- Community Garden Workers
- Assist At Events For The Blind
- Teach Immigrants & Refugees English
- Special Olympics Helpers (help with handling field results and medals)
- Volunteer Reading Day (read to elderly or to struggling readers)
- United Way Volunteers
- Volunteer Tutor
- Big Brother/ Big Sister Program
- Food Bank Volunteer
- Animal Shelter
There are many more family volunteer opportunities and projects. You can start looking into community service opportunities at All For Good, a digital hub for volunteerism and community engagement.
Quotes About Volunteering
I invite you to take a leap into the world of volunteering. Find a cause that resonates with you, dedicate your time and energy, and experience the remarkable benefits that await. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” In giving, we ultimately discover the invaluable rewards that volunteering brings into our own lives.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead
“Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.” -unknown
Volunteering is an act of heroism on a grand scale. And it matters profoundly. It does more than help people beat the odds; it changes the odds.” -Bill Clinton
“If you have the power to make someone happy, do it. The world needs more of that. ” -unknown
By embracing the opportunity to make a difference, we open ourselves up to a whole new realm of personal growth and development. We can learn new skills, gain valuable knowledge, and discover a sense of purpose that goes beyond our immediate surroundings. Volunteering not only allows us to make a difference in the lives of others but also enriches our own lives in unimaginable ways.
As we’ve seen, the hidden rewards of volunteering go far beyond what meets the eye. They extend to our mental well-being, career prospects, and overall sense of fulfillment. Volunteering is a powerful tool that can transform our lives, providing us with a deeper connection to our communities and leaving a lasting impact on both others and ourselves.
Did you know there were so many benefits of benefits of volunteering? It is a great way to give back but you get something out of it- an excellent experience to feel good about. Volunteering with your children is one of many fun activities to do with kids, especially over the summer when they have plenty of time. Do you encourage volunteering? What are your favorite reasons to volunteer? Comment below!