Even at a young age, the importance of volunteering was instilled in me by my father. My first volunteer job was spent alongside my classmates at a non-profit organization in our community. As a teenager, I continued to volunteer along with my Sunday school class to serve at local soup kitchens, run canned food drives around the holidays and even donate my time at shelters. Today I continue to volunteer and I love when I am able to get my family involved as well. That’s where Family Volunteer Day comes in.
Family Volunteer Day is a day of service that encourages and celebrates the power of families who volunteer together while supporting their neighborhoods and local communities. Established by Points of Light, the largest organization in the world dedicated to volunteer service, Family Volunteer Day is powered by the youth division of Points of Light, generationOn, and sponsored by Walt Disney.
Now in its 26th year, Family Volunteer Day is always held on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. The day not only provides a chance for families and neighbors to work together towards a common good, it’s also a wonderful way to kick off the holiday season with giving and service! Additionally, it’s an ideal opportunity to teach children the importance of compassion, giving back and service.
This year, Family Volunteer Days falls on November 19th. Our family decided to get started early, and chose to do one of the DIY projects we found on the website, making Friendship Kits to take to one of our local homeless shelters. It didn’t take us long to do at all, and it was a great learning experience presenting several opportunities to discuss everything from being grateful for what we have, to helping others who are less fortunate.
For the first part of our project we went to a few different stores and picked up gallon size Ziploc bags, toothpaste, toothbrushes, wash cloths, soap, combs, disposable razors and shampoo. We then laid everything out on a table in assembly line fashion. At the head of the table was the plastic bags, and from there we took turns going down the line and adding one of each item to a bag. As the bags were filled, we placed them in the box. We now have 16 bags to give out!
Originally our plan was to go ahead and take the bags to the shelter, but we took a vote and decided to save this part for November 19, Family Volunteer Day. This way we can fill a few more bags, and then as a family, take the bags to the shelter to be handed out. This presents another great learning experience, letting the kids see for themselves what they did and who they did it for.
Want to get involved with your family this year? You can find several great Family Volunteer Day projects on the generationOn project page. They offer project that are perfect for individual families, for multiple families, and even entire neighborhoods to get involved with. We already know which one we are going to do next year!
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What DIY Family Volunteer Day project are you planning on doing with your family?