If you’re looking for something fun and meaningful to do with your family this summer, a service project is a wonderful option.
You will be able to spend valuable family time together without phones and technology in the way. Plus, you’ll feel good about what you are doing.
I have always found that volunteering brings an immense amount of fulfillment and satisfaction. I always end the day with a warm, gooey feeling in my center knowing my actions will help someone and make them happy.
It also fills me with gratitude and renewed perspective on how incredibly fortunate I am. If you’re anything like me, you take little things like a roof, a full fridge, fresh drinking water, and clothes for granted. Service projects remind me that those are luxury items to many people; it forces me to step back and take the time to be thankful for all those things I hardly think twice about.
Service projects are a great way to show your kids how much they have and teach them about gratitude and humility. If you start now, you can make service projects a habit for them, and for you; a habit that will carry over into their adult lives that they can pass on to their families.
Here are a few projects and organizations that you and your family can do this summer:
The Habitat for Humanity always has projects going on. Building houses is just one of the many things you can volunteer to do. Go to www.habitat.org for more information and to find a project near you.
The Salvation Army has so many different projects. There are many different ways you can get involved. Volunteer opportunities vary by location, so go to http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/volunteer to find an opportunity near you. You can also donate clothing, furniture, and household products.
The Ronald McDonald House is an organization that provides rooms for just $10 a night and food to families with children in the hospital. You can donate toys and food to the Ronald McDonald House nearest to you. You can also volunteer to cook a meal for everyone staying in the house.
Service projects can also benefit the environment. The next time you’re thinking about taking your family to a park or beach, consider making a service trip out of it. Put on some gloves and pick up any trash you find lying around. It will make the scenery more beautiful and give any critters nearby a cleaner home.
Another great way to help the environment is to plant a tree or a garden. You can brighten your neighborhood with a beautiful garden full of flowers. This can be a great way to explain the importance of maintaining a healthy Earth to your kids while also having some messy fun.
Have your kids gather up all the gently-used clothes, books, and toys they don’t use anymore and donate them to a local charity, like Goodwill, or have a free garage sale. It’s not only a great way to help those in need, but it’s also a great way to get your kids to clean up their closets and rooms. It was always my mom’s favorite trick to get my sister and me to tidy up.
You and your kids can make an NICU survival kit for a mom with a baby in the NICU. You can fill the care package with books, gift cards, food, a journal, lotion, stuffed animals and baby toys, or inspirational messages. It will make a very tough time somewhat easier for the mom who receives it.
Make a handful of small care packages with food, water, and other basic necessities and keep them in your car. The next time you see a homeless person on the side of the road, give them one of the care packages. It might not be much, but it will be bright spot in their day. It’s also a great learning opportunity for your kids.
If you’re interested in doing something else in your community, you can go to www.volunteermatch.org. It’s a website that lets you search for volunteer opportunities in your area based on what you care about.
This summer take the opportunity to give back and spend some valuable time with your family by doing a service project.