On November 20, 2021, we’ll be celebrating Family Volunteer Day, a global day of service that empowers families to work together in support of their communities. And what an opportunity we have this year to make a big impact! Between the global pandemic, civil unrest and many social justice and environmental issues, there’s plenty of room to get involved with a cause you care about.
But Family Volunteer Day is extra special because it highlights the extraordinary things that happen when families choose to volunteer together. Here are a few to inspire you!
1. Family volunteering teaches children about your values as a family.
It’s always important to talk to your children about what values your family holds. But one of the best ways to reinforce these is to demonstrate your values in action. Volunteering allows you to show your kids that you’re dedicated, as a family, to promoting, supporting or furthering a certain issue — and that you’re willing to spend the time walking the walk, not just talking the talk.
2. Family volunteering helps you spend quality time together while having fun.
Parents are often looking for activities that bring their family members together. And sometimes, this is challenging if kids are at differing ages. But volunteering is a way to bring everyone — parents, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and more — together around a common mission. Plus, when everyone starts diving in, you’ll likely find that time passes quickly and you’re having even more fun than you thought!
3. Family volunteering helps children learn empathy.
Learning emotional intelligence is a crucial part of a child’s development, and encouraging them to be civically engaged can accelerate this process. When volunteering with communities, you will interact with those who share commonalities (like passion about an issue) and those who may be different from you (like people from communities outside your own.) Understanding where people are coming from and hearing about their lived experiences helps children flex their empathy muscles now and later in life.
4. Family volunteering teaches children that learning happens outside of school, too.
Set your little ones on the path to being lifelong learners! If kids always associate learning with school, they may see their journey of learning come to an end when they graduate. Instead, show them that the world is full of learning opportunities. Through volunteering, they will interact with new people from various walks of life, learn new skills needed for the task at hand and learn how they can make an impact on an issue through their time, talent and efforts.
5. Family volunteering helps children develop important skills.
Kids (and adults too!) can learn some really valuable skills through volunteering. There are the hard skills often needed for volunteer roles, like carpentry, computer programming, translation and other services. And there are soft skills that come with volunteer positions too, like social and communication skills.
How will you celebrate Family Volunteer Day this November? Need some ideas? Check out our DIY volunteer projects and search the Points of Light Engage platform for in-person or virtual volunteer opportunities in your area. Happy volunteering!