Monday, November 1, 2010

Blog Cruise: What Community Service Looks Like in Our Home

Blog Cruise time again.  This week:  What are some volunteer opportunities that your family has participated in?

This topic is hard to write about, as I don't feel that we do nearly enough.  Everything is so stinkin' far away, and so many places now won't allow kids to help out.  Especially when you start talking one adult, and a passel of little kids.  So, I'll just be honest and tell you about what we actually do, just know that I feel we really fall short in this area.

Scouts.  This makes up the majority of our volunteer time, in one way or another.  I'm a den leader for Richard's den now, but have generally been available to sit on Boards of Review for the big guys.  Dale goes along on quite a few of the camping trips.

The kids get the chance to do all kinds of great volunteer work through scouts though, especially the Boy Scouts.  They have taken part in numerous Eagle projects -- a lot of landscaping of various churches!  But in doing Eagle projects, they have also collected baby stuff for giving away at the Marion house, or built picnic tables, or... hmmm, I thought there was another non-landscaping one.

Other opportunities have been present as well.  A camping trip in May meant Dale, Connor, and William spent a dozen hours over the weekend clearing trails at Glen Eyrie.  Connor has packed Christian literature into boxes for children of prisoners.  Connor has picked up trash at a cat sanctuary (and we got a private tour to see the lions and tigers and others, oh my!)  The kids marched in a Veteran's Day parade last year and handed out cards to Vets.  They have done bell-ringing for the Salvation Army.  They've picked up trash more times than I can count.  That's at least the stuff I remember off the top of my head.

The library:  two years in a row, Connor has volunteered to help with the summer reading program at the bookmobile.  I wish we lived closer to a library where he could do more than just that, but they really don't seem to need him at other times.  William is planning to volunteer this next summer (you have to be 12!)  I don't know if they will want both of them, or just one of them.  We'll have to see. 

Care and Share:  This is one place that welcomes help from kids... starting at age 6.  So myself and various mixes of the boys have gone over there to pack boxes of food.  We even ended up being filmed for a commercial at one of our visits.  I look forward to Trina being old enough too, so we can all go together, but that is still a bit over a year away.

Crossfire Mission:  We had been involved in their quilter's group... but timing hasn't worked so well for that lately.  We do still cut old jeans up into squares though.  In fact, we probably ought to do a massive cutting session again and get a stack of stuff out of here.  The denim squares get sewn up into really nice quilts, which we have helped tie too.

And, of course, one of the other big helps is babysitting.  Connor will take charge of the kids left behind when we go do Care and Share, for instance, and that is NOT paid babysitting.  William was left in charge when I ran Connor to be a reading program volunteer (that one is pretty near by).  The kids know that whether or not we actually count it as volunteer hours, there is "support work" that needs to be done in order to make it possible for others of us to be out there.  If we all had to go, we wouldn't be able to do most of the things that we do now.

How about you?  I'd love to hear more about family-friendly volunteer opportunities you have found.  And you can check out what some of my Crew Mates had to say by clicking the graphic above!  I'm sure they will have some pretty creative volunteer experiences!


Michelle Smith said...

Thanks for sharing! I also don't feel we do enough, but it can be difficult to work it into our schedule. I need to blog about what we have done, too.

Lauren said...

they talked about this at the Raising Kids to Do Hard Things conference - how there are seasons of life more for service (aka elder and city father) than what I am in (householder - also known as "Babies and Business").
Here are some things Gregg Harris listed as service or hospitality - what he calls living as ambassadors for Christ in your embassy (home): Guest room hospitality, evangelistic hospitality, educational hospitality, holiday hospitality, activist hospitality.
I can give you definitions and examples from these if you'd like.

Mozi Esme said...

Scouts is a great way to get kids involved...