Member Articles

Write an article!

New Thanksgiving warm-up: family volunteer day

Make volunteering a part of your holiday tradition

by VolunteerMom  |  3097 views  |  1 comment  |        Rate this now! 

Did you ever see the episode of Super Nanny where the bratty kids just complain about how they don’t have the right iPods, shoes, jeans, or a fancy-enough house? Super Nanny knew exactly how to straighten them out:  march the family over to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity to see how lucky they really are, instill a little bit a productive guilt, and ultimately let the kids see that their effort can make a real difference in the lives of people around them in the community.

Teaching our kids to make a difference in the community makes a difference in them too. Volunteering together is a great way to bond over something positive and it builds important family traditions.

Around Thanksgiving, once we’re stuffed full of yummies on the big day and nestled in our couches watching the big games we start getting slammed with ads to buy buy BUY for the holidays. The kids often stop being thankful and start getting greedy. Wouldn’t it be great to inoculate them against a little of the consumerism before it starts up and instead take a moment to build a real joy of giving to others? With all the economic turmoil, some of it hurting our own families, isn’t it time to shift focus to bonding over the importance of being together and doing good, rather than just planning another trip to the mall?

Enter one of the coolest new volunteering holidays there is: Family Volunteer Day! Created by the HandsOn Network, this annual helping holiday takes place the Saturday before Thanksgiving and is a great way to help kids see the value of giving rather than getting. It’s also a great way to strengthen family bonds and promote community service as a family tradition rather than just a school requirement. It shows that a group can get more done than an individual and creates pride in the achievement of helping. We can’t believe this didn’t happen sooner!

Feeding the needy is a traditional way that many individuals and families offer their help to the less fortunate during the holidays. But there are so many different organizations with needs that are overlooked. Part of the fun of participating in Family Volunteer Day is getting the whole family involved in deciding where and who they want to serve – and by focusing action on the Saturday before the big day, families can create new and innovative ways to share their service in addition to service on Thanksgiving itself. The folks at VolunteerSpot have created a free eBook to spark your family volunteering planning, Family-Friendly Volutneering free eBook. Many employers are partnering with local nonprofits to offer family-freindly service opportunities on Family Volunteer Day... check in with your corporate social responsibility office for details.

About the Author

VolunteerMom is a writer and very active PTA parent of two in Austin, TX

Read more by VolunteerMom

1 comment so far...

  • I completely agree! Recently, we volunteered at a local food pantry through a volunteer project with my company. Even younger kids (5 and 6) can help sort the food that will later be distributed. We are going to be signing up to help the pantry out more often as we all came away feeling good for helping others who really need it. We want our kids to understand that they are lucky to have the things they do, and that being part of a community means helping those in need.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by patsyk on 15th November 2008