Monday, May 5, 2008

Do Good Together

Over family game night? Looking for some new and exciting family activities that don't involve large, flat screens or spending tons of cash? Try volunteering as a family. There are so many opportunities out there that welcome children (not to mention the ideas you can come up with on your own) and so many people in need.

But what kind of good works could I possibly do with my kids in tow, you ask?

Easy:

1) Visit a nursing home. Many of the elderly in nursing homes have few or no visitors and thrive on human contact. Check with the local homes in your area, or search opportunities on VolunteerMatch. Your toddler's boundless enthusiasm will wind a graham cracker crumb trail right to someone's heart.

2) Take your story time on the road. Contact a local hospital with a children's ward and see if they are in need of volunteers to read to the children. Keep your own little ones involved by letting them pick the books, turn the pages or even read to the group on their own.

3) Keep it clean. Get in touch with your local park service or conservation agency and find out when they have a scheduled "Community Clean Up." If they don't have one, suggest it. Or better yet, do your own informal clean up of your family's favorite park or beach while you go for a walk. (Obviously, don't forget to wear gloves.)

4) Feed the world. Food pantries are in more desperate need than ever these days, with the rising cost of just about everything! And while I know you Mamas are feeling it too, there's always someone out there who is less fortunate, right? So next time you're rushing through the supermarket, tots in tow, take a minute and let your kids pick one item to donate. At home, have a special bag where the kids can stash the goodies and when the bag is full, take it to your local food pantry or church.

Now this is what I call quality time!

I'm sure that you super creative Mamas out there could come up with some terrific ideas of your own. Post them here and share with everyone!

Other great resources:

Family Cares
Give Five
The Big Help
The Volunteer Family
Idealist