23 February 2005
by Kerri Wilkinson
One of the main reasons that individuals don’t participate in volunteer activities is time. We are busy people living busy lives and time is a precious commodity.
Most of us recognize the value of volunteers, but finding the time to volunteer can be a challenge. Why not look at combining some family time with volunteering?
There is a growing focus on family volunteering. Families who want to spend time together are looking at getting involved in community activities as a family. Organizations are starting to recognize the value of having families volunteer.
One of the challenges families face is finding organizations that have opportunities that would suit them. In many cases, fund-raising events are an excellent opportunity to involve the whole family. Some other areas would be helping the elderly, church groups, sports and school programs and community cleanup projects.
Our volunteer organizations also have to look at ways to involve families. Many of our programs are not designed around more than one person helping out. But what if a volunteer brought along a younger member of the family to help? Or if Grandma or Grandpa wanted to participate? We need to look at our volunteer opportunities and decide where we can utilize this valuable resource.
Family volunteers bring into an organization a unique blend of talents and skills. They can provide a young volunteer with a new experience backed by parental support. This can provide an opportunity to create a life-long volunteer.
Organizations can build new relationships and increase their diversity and volunteer pool. Families would become better acquainted with a community’s needs and have input into finding solutions. These opportunities also would provide a chance for different generations to interact.
Families may find that the experience can help in improving communication, teach new skills and strengthen family bonds. One of the biggest rewards may be that you have fun together, share an experience and help out your community.
So whether you decide to shovel snow for an elderly neighbour, sew book bags or help out at a special event, see if you can bring the family along.