In a society where more is always touted as better, volunteering can be a wonderful way to teach your children that there are other people in the world that don’t have it so easy. Volunteering helps your children see that others live with less and learn to be grateful for the things they do have. It’s also a way to help develop compassion and empathy in their young lives. However, the benefits of volunteering don’t stop there.
Here are five other benefits of volunteering:
Volunteering makes you happy and healthy
Numerous articles report on studies by Harvard Medical School which show “a connection between volunteering and a sense of personal satisfaction, well-being and happiness.” Giving to others and doing things for other people makes you a happier person. Children quickly discover the delight behind simple gestures like making an elderly lady smile in a nursing home while singing Christmas carols or handing out food to someone at a community service dinner. Even something as simple as creating a card for someone who may be going through a hard time can bring joy to children.
Volunteering promotes teamwork One skill all children need to develop is teamwork. Learning how to work with a team or in a group will help ensure success in school, sports, and other extra-curricular activities. Teamwork skills will carry over into their adult life where they’ll learn that they have to work with others in a team setting in many jobs. It can also help them to discover where in a team setting they do their best work. You may have a natural born leader whose skills shine on a volunteer project, or your child may discover that they love to be assigned tasks to check off.
Volunteering helps children feel a sense of accomplishment
The feeling of pride that children feel when volunteering helps to build self-confidence. It reinforces that even though they may be young or small, they can make a difference in the world. This is a powerful lesson for all children, especially at a time when children tend to be more aware of current events and what is going on in the world around them. It gives them a tangible opportunity to make a difference in this big and sometimes scary world.
Volunteering helps children learn new skills
Volunteering can take many forms which in turn can help develop numerous skills for children of all ages. Gathering with a church group to stuff and pack bags with food for the hungry or homeless can help them practice sorting and organizing skills. Making dolls for pediatric surgical patients can further develop fine motor skills. Reading to preschoolers in an aftercare program can build reading skills and help to develop leadership skills. The list of skills that can be developed from volunteering is unlimited. It also helps children develop the confidence to try something new.
Volunteering can bring families closer
There are many opportunities for families to work together in their volunteering efforts.
Families serving together is a wonderful way to have meaningful experiences and strengthen your relationship with your children.
The benefits of volunteering do not end here. Finding a way to give to charities through your time and talents can truly be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.
Christy Mossburg is the Director of Christian Education at Calvary United Methodist Church in Frederick, Maryland, where she also runs Mission Possible Kids, a monthly mission-based program where children do hands-on mission projects for the community. For the 2018-2019 school year, Mission Possible Kids directly impacted the lives of over 360 people through projects that included making breakfast bags for the homeless on Thanksgiving, Busy Bags for children in the waiting room at FMH, comfort pillows for breast cancer patients, and more. Find out more at www.calvaryumc.org or contact her directly at Christy@calvaryumc.org.