Daily Point of Light # 3109 Jan 4, 2006

The Volunteer Family (TVF) is a startup nonprofit, founded in May 2003, to assist Boston area organizations address a growing need for volunteer assistance through family volunteering. Their mission is to encourage, facilitate, coordinate, and support family volunteering activities in order to strengthen family values, while simultaneously helping local nonprofit agencies achieve their respective goals of serving our community’s most needy and indigent neighbors.

The volunteer activities differ based on the interests and age of the family members, and are as numerous and varied as the families themselves. TVF has compiled a list of existing organizations, helped them develop new and innovative projects, and brought them enthusiastic volunteers who want to help others while discovering and developing the spirit of charity in their own children.

TVF has received an incredibly positive response, both from organizations who need volunteers as well as parents who want to volunteer with their children. Their focus centers on organizations that serve underserved populations and disadvantaged communities. There are countless ways families can contribute to these organizations, in categories such as understanding the poor, the elderly, the handicapped, animals, education, and the environment. Examples include a mother and her newborn educating a pregnant teenager about baby care, a father and his son coaching an inner-city sports team, or a grandmother and her granddaughter bringing homemade get-well cards to hospital patients.

Children benefit by family volunteering, as the experience helps them feel valued, acquire new skills, understand anti-materialism, build an appreciation for other family members and strengthen familial bonds. In a volunteer setting, children have the opportunity to see their parents as role models for proactive social behavior, while developing their own talents and building an orientation towards helping others that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

As a parent, unless you know exactly whom to contact, it is currently extremely difficult to find a volunteer opportunity that you can do with your children. Without an easy, organized, coordinated system, adults are not only missing a chance to grow with their children, teach important values, and share the experience of helping others, but many local organizations are failing to recruit an entire sector of valuable volunteer assistance.

TVF addresses this need through two goals. The first goal of The Volunteer Family is to recruit and retain more volunteers for nonprofit organizations. The second goal of The Volunteer Family is to promote, encourage, and expand family volunteering to strengthen relationships among family members. Since its inception just over two and a half years ago, TVF has addressed the need for family volunteering in the Greater Boston area. They have become a complete, personalized resource for families interested in volunteering.