How Volunteering Became my Kids' Favourite Holiday Activity
Written by Lyne Desruisseaux
Wednesday, December 5th, 2018
For the holiday season each year, I make an advent calendar for our two kids. It's made up of Christmas themed daily activities: baking cookies, making decorations, writing greeting cards. Each year, the one that generates the most interest is volunteering!
Why our Family Chooses Volunteering
Giving is a part of the values that I want to pass on to our kids. Donating our time is sometimes more precious and meaningful than giving money. In addition to fulfilling a need, it creates an unmatched feeling of satisfaction.
During our most recent move to Nova Scotia, I wanted our girls to learn more about our new community. Aside from tourist attractions, I wanted them to be conscious of the reality that those around us face. What could be better than volunteering? And the holidays are the best time to do it. The opportunities are endless, and our hearts are more receptive to the needs of those who are less fortunate.
How Was our Family's First Experience?
Our first experience took place at a homeless shelter in the basement of a church. On weekends, families help get the space ready for the guests who'll be staying the night. Believe me, cleaning toilets, sorting through donations and making sandwiches for the recipients – all make for a unique family experience! Our conversations with those who run the shelter have allowed us to learn more about the reality of the area we live in. It's a way of putting our own needs and wants into perspective.
What Did My Kids Learn?
Since we started, our two daughters love volunteering. They ask us every year to put it in the calendar. This activity creates some of our best Christmas memories.
The impact of volunteering lasts with us all year. Our kids are even more sensitive to the needs of others, often suggesting ways to help those in need. They're also more cognizant of how privileged they are and of the attention that gets paid to them.
Where to Volunteer
If you'd like to offer your time as a family like we did, here are a few suggestions.
Keep an eye out for national campaigns such as:
Also keep an eye out for local opportunities. For example:
- Walking dogs or cleaning out cages at an animal shelter
- Playing cards with residents at a retirement home or reading stories with them
- Cooking at a retirement home or a shelter
- Collecting non-perishable donations for a local organization. Take the time to visit their facilities and learn more about the community's needs and the lives of the recipients
Don't hesitate to donate your time. Even if you only have a couple of hours to spare, you'll be able contribute to the wellbeing of your community, all while creating good memories as a family.
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