Getting the family together for community service is a great way to teach them the how to step out of their comfort zone and learn some new skills at the same time. Serving their fellow neighbors is an experience that will ensure growth not only on a small level of gaining appreciation for their immediate circumstance but also on a more global scale, as their eyes are opened to need in their community and the many small, yet effective ways to address that need. There are many ways to reach out and serve. Here are some of them.
Help a neighbor with odd jobs around the yard
If you live in a neighborhood with some older residents, it is painful to see them endeavoring to clean up the yard in the fall or even worse, singlehandedly laboring over a mound of snow in their feeble state in the winter months. Gather the family together and head over with supplies in hand to get the job done quickly and efficiently. The old adage, “many hands make light labor” couldn’t be wrong.
Visit an assisted living facility and spread some holiday cheer.
Many older residents have family that lives out of state and holiday times can evoke feelings of isolation and sadness. It brings so much joy, albeit momentary, to the residents of these facilities to just see a family celebrating service and togetherness and including them in the occasion. Prepare some songs to share in advance, bring some homemade baked goods and settle in for some precious time with some tender hearted older folk that may not be able to celebrate togetherness with a family of their own.
Plant a Garden
Gardening is such a gratifying way to connect to the earth and marvel at its abundance; where the fruits of your labor are rewarded with not just a crop of lovely flowers but vegetables that if one planned correctly, can sustain not just your family but other community members as well. Consider taking a plot at a community garden and donating the produce to a local food bank, or prepare boxes for neighbors in need when your harvest is bountiful. Your kids will learn from the experience and of course benefit from the opportunity to share.
Don’t forget our furry friends
If you have some animal lovers in your brood, consider a visit to a local animal shelter and seeing what service opportunities exist there. Many shelters have open visiting hours when volunteers can come in and help clean out pens, play with the animals and maybe even bathe them. Be sure to take the necessary precautions when dealing with unpredictable animals and prepare for a messy task by dressing appropriately.
Beautification is always appreciated
Some parts of your town might not have the budget for something as trivial as “beautification.” What better way to commemorate a deceased loved one then the make a public flower garden in their memory. Local municipal buildings, libraries, schools and even some parks will often allow a plot to be cultivated with some beautiful flowers, plants and trees. Be sure to propose a plan and a budget and check in the appropriate governing authorities to see your plan come to fruition. What a lovely way to leaving a legacy of beauty for a loved one.
Family service projects are not only a great way to show your children the importance of hard work but also a way to build cohesion and step out of their little world and impact it for good. Seeing beyond their world to identify and help meet the needs of fellow community members is a great way to institute lasting change for our families and communities at large.