(StatePoint) Saturday, November 19 is Family Volunteer Day, a global day of service that empowers families to work together to support their communities. Increasingly, parents of young children are placing a larger focus on civic engagement and giving back, and this annual event is a great way for your family to get started or strengthen your involvement.
Need some guidance? The following actions draw upon Points of Light’s Civic Circle, a framework that helps people understand the many facets of civic engagement and provides an opportunity to show children the variety of ways they can support causes they care about this Family Volunteer Day. Combine these ideas to engage your whole family, strengthen your community and amplify your efforts:
1. Volunteer. Hands-on action is always an impactful way to get involved, especially on Family Volunteer Day. Whether you find time to volunteer at a local organization or use one of Points of Light’s DIY project guides, there are plenty of options for families of all ages and abilities. Consider projects that focus on issue areas that children can easily understand and get involved with, such as food insecurity, animal welfare and climate change.
2. Donate. Most organizations need financial support to continue their operations and deliver on their missions. Having a family fundraiser can be a great way to support an organization or cause. Whether you run a lemonade stand, plan a virtual fundraiser, sell friendship bracelets or do something else creative, activities like these help youth learn planning skills and the value of supporting organizations financially.
3. Purchase Power. With the holiday season quickly approaching, gift giving is on many people’s minds. Have young people help you select gifts from small local businesses or BIPOC or women-owned businesses. You can also find and support companies that give back — either with a percentage of proceeds or by working sustainably.
4. Listen and Learn. A critical element of civic engagement is listening to and learning from the community you hope to serve. Before taking action, learn about what’s really needed. If you can’t talk to those directly impacted, ask a local nonprofit organization if it has suggestions or more information. You can also read books, listen to podcasts or watch documentaries about the causes you wish to support.
5. Use Your Voice. Helping kids find their voice is important because they can use it to harness their power in bringing awareness to important causes. Kids can share information by telling friends and family what they learned over a dinner, sharing a report at school or providing information for others with an action item to take.
If you’re looking for tactical ideas, Points of Light’s website has family-friendly toolkits for youth of all ages that incorporates some of these elements. Visit www.pointsoflight.org/familyvolunteerday/ to find a project that’s right for you.
Family Volunteer Day can be just a starting point. Taking action and understanding the impact of your work can lead to a lifetime of civic engagement and service.