Although we should all be compassionate, caring and community minded throughout the entire year, the approaching season seems to bring the impulse front and center. An abundance of volunteer and donation opportunities present themselves and, filled with the holiday spirit, we tend to finish the year with philanthropic gestures and goodwill for those less fortunate.

So here are two questions:

  1. How can you find an outlet for kids to help others during the holidays?
  2. How do you encourage a spirit of giving and service all year long?

It’s often easier to find family friendly activities during the holiday season, and sometimes those activities can turn into long-term commitments. But they don’t have to. No effort is wasted, and it’s okay for kids to vary their experience with short-term projects. Their attention spans are short, and dabbling may help them find long-term service interests.

Click here for a website that offers some good ideas for holiday season volunteering.

For the longer view (year-round commitment), there are many websites that offer ideas and information, but a particularly good one is here

The landing page is subtitled “Volunteering With Kids.” Notice the word “with.” Working with your child not only models civic involvement, skills and work ethic, but also affords a wonderful opportunity to bond with your child. But keep in mind that it’s never a good idea to have your child volunteer in an environment that may be disturbing to them or where the staff is not accepting of young volunteers. Always ask first!

Among the topics this website discusses is the benefit of matching your child’s interests and abilities with volunteer opportunities. That’s never a bad idea for adults either. It’s not self-serving, though we all like the sense of competency and investment when work matches our passions. Use it to motivate your child to stick with commitments of time and talent.

The site lists resources for finding kid-friendly opportunities in your area.

Liberty Phoenix encourages all its families to find ways to give back this season, and throughout the year.

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