Today is Volunteer Recognition Day, a day when organizations often recognize and reward their volunteers. If you have been volunteering, you might receive some special consideration today. If you haven’t volunteered for anything in a while, it might be a nice thing for your family to do together. While it can be difficult to help out a non-profit organization in person when you have babies or toddlers, as the kids get bigger, you can often begin to incorporate them in any helpful activities that you participate in. Here are a few ideas for volunteer opportunities to get you started:
Clean up days at a local park. Now that the weather is nice and people are beginning to utilize the local parks, beaches and forests, there are usually opportunities to clean up these public areas. Efforts can range from cleaning up litter to helping to weed and plant new annuals for the season. Contact your local parks and recreation department or your local state forest to find out if you can help.
Participate in fundraising events. Various charities hold fundraising events throughout the year. As a child, I remember participating in “jumpathons” and “rockathons” at local churches and even at school, where kids would get relatives and friends to sponsor them based on how many hours they could continue jumping rope or rocking in a rocking chair. You could also sign up for a family 5K run or a 1-mile walk. Again, each participant of family gathers sponsors, and you spend the day together out in the fresh air, getting exercise, and raising money for the charity that’s holding the event. If you aren’t able to walk or run, you could always volunteer to hand out t-shirts or supply water to the athletes, or even to hang posters. No job is too small!
Make your own opportunity! What speaks to your heart? Whether it’s helping children, animals, the environment or the elderly, you can often create a volunteer position for yourself and your family. If you see a house with overgrown weeds and a sagging gutter in your neighborhood, for example, and you know that it’s owned by an elderly person or a single mom who simply does not have the time or ability to maintain the property, you could ask if you might be welcome to spend a Saturday caring for the lawn and doing simple projects around the house. Ask if your high schooler could read to kindergarteners one afternoon per week, or volunteer in the children’s library on occasion. Remember that as kids get older, they don’t necessarily need you to be there, and can begin volunteering on their own.
Do you participate in any volunteer activities? Do your children? Share your work with other Shopaholic Mommy readers to spark some inspiration!