Do you volunteer as a family? Are you curious about how to involve your child in helping out, or giving back?
The post below originally appeared in the HandsOn Blog on March 15th 2011. It is a great intro to volunteering as a family, and they were generous in their permission for us to re-post for your reading pleasure!
If you are curious about where to start volunteering as a family in Victoria, read on to the bottom, or please share your experiences and insights through the comments!
According to The Civic and Political Health of the Nation: A Generational Portrait, young people who are raised in homes that family members who volunteer are involved in civic and political activity from volunteering to campaigning for a cause. Adult volunteers in a home can inspire young people to volunteer either on their own or as part of group.
Volunteering as a family can show the younger members of the family the importance of being engaged in the community, and can have a number of benefits for the family.
- Family volunteering can bring the family closer together. Family volunteering provides a shared experience that can help to build and strengthen family bonds.
- Values are strengthened by volunteering. Family volunteering gives parents the opportunity to model behavior that they are trying to instill in their children.
- Volunteering as a family can provide self-satisfaction. When everyone in the family is working towards a common goal at their volunteer event, it can provide a sense of self–satisfaction to everyone involved.
- Strength in numbers. When a family volunteers together, even the littlest hands can make big tasks easier. Families that volunteer together can get more done together than an individual working alone.
- Benefits to youth. Youth who volunteer frequently can benefit from their family volunteer experiences when applying for jobs or college.
- Children see another side of life. Children that volunteer outside of their home and neighborhood get to see a different part of life than they normally see.
- Having a positive impact. Families that volunteer together get to see the positive impact that they have by volunteering when they reflect on their volunteer experience together.
- Family volunteering is fun! Volunteering as a family can be a social experience and give everyone an experience that is outside of their day-to-day life of work and school.
There are a host of benefits that families who volunteer together gain from the experience. There are some costs to family, such as adding stress to family life, but in Family Volunteering: An Exploratory Study on the Impact of Families, only about 25% of families that volunteer agreed that volunteering makes their life more hectic. The benefits of volunteering as a family seem to outweigh the potential costs.
Check out the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre for volunteering as a family. Or Selkirk Place, a senior’s residence. Want to connect with a family new to Victoria? Check out the VIRCS’ Family Friendship Program. Like being outdoors? Try Haliburton Community Organic Farm Society, or Woodwynn Farms.