Doing Good Together January 2007 newsletter

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Doing Good Together Newsletter )
Helping strengthen kids and communities through family volunteerism... January 2007
in this issue
  • Small Catalysts for Change
  • Provide Attention Grabbing Projects
  • Inspiration
  • One School's Story
  • News From DGT

  • January is when we look back over the past year and – more significantly -- decide on goals for the coming year. That includes planning the year’s charitable giving and volunteer activities. With your family, choose which causes you all feel passionate about and think about how each family member can contribute. Below are tips for getting started on your family giving adventure. Happy 2007!

    Jenny Friedman, Executive Director

    Small Catalysts for Change
    Binky Patrol Project

    Make a Difference... It takes just one small step to start a habit of service in your family. For example, choose one day this year -- perhaps a Day of Service-- to volunteer. Or begin with one simple, family volunteer “habit”-- like picking up a few pieces of litter every time you visit a local park, or buying an extra item at the grocery store each week to donate to a food shelf. Or plan a single project your family can do without even leaving your home, such as creating a craft project, a blanket, a drawing or a card to brighten the day of children or adults in need of some encouragement and comfort. Go ahead. Do one small thing today to heal the world. See how good it feels.

    Photo: A Cornelia School family at the Doing Good Together Family Service Night

    Provide Attention Grabbing Projects
    Rainbow Fish

    Talk About It ... If you’re ready to start a tradition of family service, what’s the best approach to get your family engaged and enthusiastic? Here are some tips:

  • If you have younger children, be ready with a few different volunteer project options. If your children are older, the discussion can be more open-ended. (“How do you think this family can best serve others together?”)
  • Discuss the causes that matter to your family. Are you passionate about animals? Peace and justice issues? Global poverty? Choose an opportunity that fits everyone’s interests and personalities, and allows every family member to do meaningful work.
  • Talk about what time commitment everyone is willing to make. Start small – perhaps just a one- time project at first.
  • When you complete a project – even a short one -- take time to reflect with your children about what was accomplished and how you felt about the experience. Tell stories to each other about what you enjoyed and what was frustrating or difficult.
  • Learn About It ... Introducing the idea of service to children is easier when someone else tells the story. For young children, reading the Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister or Swimmy by Leo Lionni can lead to conversations about sharing. For older kids, Barbara Lewis’s The Kids Guide to Service Projects is a must-have for both inspiration and ideas. For other books on service for children and adults, visit our resource list.

    Photo:Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister


    "I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know. The only ones among you who will be truly happy will be those who have sought and found how to serve."

    —Albert Schweitzer

    One School's Story
    A Cornelia School family at the Doing Good Together Family Service Night

    Today’s families are so busy that an additional commitment – even something as worthwhile as community service – can be hard to squeeze onto the to-do list. Apparently these concerns evaporate when the project ideas are hatched right inside the child’s school. This approach to volunteerism, it turns out, can also enhance your child’s education, lead to families spending time together, and build the school community!

    Doing Good Together has been partnering with Cornelia Elementary School in Edina, Minn., to help make it easy for Cornelia families to serve others. The Cornelia DGT team sends a list of 10 simple community service activities home with students each month. Some activities take only 15 minutes to complete, others take a couple hours. Families can choose to do one project on the list, or several, with the incentive that for every activity accomplished, the child can add one loop to the Cornelia Chain of Caring. The chain already stretches around the school cafeteria.

    Read Full Story

    Photo: A Cornelia School family at the Doing Good Together Family Service Night

    News From DGT

    We’re continuing to work with Twin Cities schools to establish family service programs and support service learning though family involvement. Our collaboration with Cornelia Elementary School in Edina, Minn., is fully launched (see the family story above), and we’re pleased to announce that we’ve begun a partnership with Centerpoint Elementary School in White Bear Lake, Minn. If you know of a school that’s interested in encouraging families to engage in service -- whether it’s simply distributing a list of family volunteer opportunities or building a comprehensive family service program -- please contact us for more information.

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