Doing Good Together February 2009 Newsletter

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Doing Good Together Newsletter  
Helping strengthen kids and communities through family volunteerism... February 2009
in this issue
  • Ways to make an Impact in the Economic Downturn
  • The Giving and Receiving Equation
  • Inspiration
  • Family Story
  • News From DGT
  • In these tough economic times, news stories make it clear how quickly any one of us could require community assistance because of job loss, family illness or another unforeseen event. Everywhere it's apparent that we all are both givers and receivers of help. This fact should inspire us to contribute what we can to those who are struggling. Get in the habit now of making service to others part of your family's DNA.

    Jenny Friedman, Executive Director

    Ways to make an Impact in the Economic Downturn
    National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty

    Make a Difference...

    Look for no-cost ways you and your family can make a difference. Here are a few ideas for how you can help your community, even without writing a check.

  • Demand for food assistance is increasing. Can you spearhead a drive in your neighborhood for your local food shelf?
  • Losing a job is traumatic. If you know a family coping with unemployment, be specific in your intention to help, such as offering an evening of free childcare or sharing a home-cooked meal.
  • Advocate for vulnerable children and families by calling, emailing or writing your representatives. Visit these sites to learn more about the issues, or to find your representatives.
  • The Giving and Receiving Equation
    Reach Out and Give

    Talk About It...

    Remind your children that service can be a two-way street - that we could all be at the giving and receiving end of our community's help.

  • Ask your child about a time when he or she, or maybe your whole family, needed help. Talk about how it felt when you received that help.
  • Talk about times when you've been the giver - offered your help to others. How did that feel?
  • Did you know that low-income families have the highest rates of volunteerism? Talk about the fact that we all have something valuable to offer, regardless of income or age.
  • Learn About It...

    Reach Out and Give is part of the "Learning to Get Along" series by Cheri J. Meiners, illustrated by Meredith Johnson (Free Spirit Publishing, 2006). Ages 4-8. Based on the idea that giving is a circle, Reach Out and Give emphasizes that gratitude can be a powerful motivation for kindness and giving back. Meiners portrays volunteerism as a way to express gratitude for having received help from others. The book includes games, discussion questions and ideas for service projects.

    Photo: Reach Out and Give


    The love of our neighbor in all its fullness simply means being able to say to him, "What are you going through?"

    -Simone Weil

    Family Story
    Head Start families at DGT service night

    Earlier this month, a dozen Head Start families from the Minneapolis metro area gathered for a rousing night of service. The event, sponsored by Doing Good Together and Anoka/Washington County Head Start, focused around four "stations," each offering a simple, hands-on service-learning project for the kids and their families. By the end of the evening, families had decorated 25 placemats for the local Meals on Wheels program, made 42 cards for two chronically ill children, made seven fleece blankets for children in need, and made 200 sandwiches for a homeless shelter.

    The families also contributed to a Valentine collage. They wrote or drew on a cut-out heart about a time they were been helped by others, a time they made a difference in other people's lives, and how it feels to be both a giver and a receiver.

    The project represents the Doing Good Together commitment to taking the message of family service to diverse communities. Prompted by a list of questions provided at each station, families spent time talking with their children about the importance of helping others, and the difference their work that evening would make in the lives of people who are homeless, sick or in need of comfort. Most parents agreed that the best part of the evening was the chance to spend time with their children giving back to the community. "The event was a great success," says Gerri Webster, Family Development Coordinator for Anoka/Washington County Head Start. "We could read the enjoyment of adults and children as they moved from activity to activity. As they left, many parents commented on what a positive experience it was for their family."

    Photos: Head Start families at Doing Good Together service night

    News From DGT
    Hands on Twin Cities

    Twin Cities residents are invited to join us at the Mall of America for the Hands On Twin Cities Volunteer Expo, Saturday, February 21, anytime between 10 am and 3 pm. It's a gathering of over 100 local nonprofits that can tell you about the volunteer opportunities available in the Twin Cities. There's something for young and old, friends and families, neighborhood and workplace groups, faith organizations and more. It's a rare chance to discover a volunteer job that stirs you. Be sure to visit the Doing Good Together booth!

    Quick Links...

    phone: 612-822-6502

    5141 16th Avenue South | Minneapolis | MN | 55417

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