COMING TOGETHER FOR GOOD
Many recent studies confirm what we now know to be true: Youth thrive better when they spend time in service. But how do we get our families inspired to make giving a priority when our lives are already over-full? One solution: Come together with others to make a difference. Making service a group endeavor not only means more fun, but it "puts kindness on the calendar" so doing good is more likely to become part of your routine. No need to start big. Make your first community effort bite-sized, and see how it goes. Then, if it works for everyone, plan to spend more regular time with family, friends and neighbors serving others. Here are a few ideas for getting started.
-Jenny Friedman, Executive Director
FIND A GROUP PROJECT TO FIT YOUR FAMILY
Make a Difference.....
- Start a Family Volunteer group. Once a month (or once a quarter) rally a small group of families to do something good. Meet to clean your neighborhood park, tie fleece blankets for a children's hospital, make sandwiches for a homeless shelter, or pay a visit to a local nursing home.
- Join our Membership Circle. This is more virtual community than actual, but it will make your investment in community engagement specific and concrete, and it provides the opportunity to share ideas with like-minded parents. You'll receive a variety of benefits, including a free consultation with our kindness experts so you can get ideas (for books, projects, conversations) specific to your family's ages and interests.
- Throw a party that gives back. Your cause could be the Pajama Program, which provides sleepwear and a bedtime book for kids in need. Or have a card-making party to benefit children with serious illnesses.
- Take on a joint project. Bring together a few like-minded families to take on one ongoing project. For example, sponsor a family through the Box Project, share a Meals on Wheels route, or come together to cook a monthly meal at a soup kitchen.
- Host a Family Service Fair. With our new step-by-step guide, these are easy to do. The idea is to provide supplies for guests to do little service projects to benefit the community. Organize one for your child's school, your faith group, parent group, business or neighborhood. (You can also hire DGT to organize the event for you.)
- Organize a community campaign. If your family's passion is hunger, organize a neighborhood food drive. If you're an animal lover, launch a collection of dog supplies for a local rescue group.
WORKING TOGETHER TO ACHIEVE YOUR MISSION
Talk About It.....
It can be both fun and inspiring to work together with others to make a difference. Share that inspiration with your children by having a conversation about spearheading a community project:
- What can we accomplish as a group that we wouldn't do as well on our own?
- How does working with others make a project more fun?
- Who should we ask to join our effort - extended family, neighbors, friends?
- What can be hard about coming together with others for a cause? What challenges might we face?
- What should we do if people disagree about the best way to do things?
Learn About It.....
Here are a few children's books that tell the stories of caring communities that made a difference.
Wanda's Roses by Pat Brisson. Ages 4-8. Learn how one little girl inspires a neighborhood with her determination to create beauty and hope.
Swimmy by Leo Lionni. Ages 4-8. This Caldecott Honor Book tells the story of a brave fish who teaches his friends that with a little ingenuity and teamwork they can overcome any danger.
Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman. Ages 9-12. A young girl plants a garden in an abandoned lot and brings together a troubled neighborhood.
"The power of one, if fearless and focused, is formidable, but the power of many working together is better."
-Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, former president of the Philippines