In another life (or so it feels) I worked for the American Red Cross, one of our country’s leading volunteer-led and volunteer-driven non-profit organizations. My positions involved recruiting, orienting, placing, training, retaining, and recognizing our chapter’s hundreds of volunteers, but more importantly, my positions revolved around working with volunteers to carry out the organization's mission of helping people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. After serving alongside these incredible volunteers, often in the trenches following some of the most catastrophic disasters in our country's history, I have tremendous respect, admiration, and appreciation for all those who give so deeply and completely without asking for anything in return.
Even though they don't ask for or expect it, most volunteers do receive a little something back for their service. Studies have repeatedly shown that people who volunteer are more personally fulfilled and feel better about themselves, and I speak from personal experience when I say that these studies, at least when it comes to my own volunteer work, ring true.
They also ring true when it comes to my kiddos. Children who volunteer reap the same benefits as adults who volunteer, becoming happier, more appreciative, and more compassionate as a result of their service to individuals and their communities.
I recently wrote a two-part piece for MomsEveryday on youth volunteerism. The first post addresses how to help children start and stick with volunteering, and the second post covers specific organization, collection, and special project ideas for kids who are ready to begin giving back.
This is the perfect time of year to volunteer - adults, kids, and families can make a difference in so many ways - so I thought today would be a perfect day to share links to these posts. I hope you find something that fuels and leads to fulfillment of your own, your children's, and/or your family's volunteer aspirations!