Family Volunteering: Parents Find New Opportunities to Bond with Their Children this October

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The Volunteer Family Web site offers parents information on the benefits of family volunteering, tips on how to introduce their children to the rewards of service, and a place to find family friendly volunteer activities.

a glorious sight at dusk when thousands of pumpkins are lit.

October is the perfect time to cozy up to your children and give back to the community where you live. Sandwiched between Back-to-School and Thanksgiving, with cooler air and refreshing breezes, many nonprofit organizations are seeking assistance with both everyday affairs and special events. Walk-a-thons and fall festivals are prominent, and they offer families fun ways to get involved and enjoy the cider-sipping season.

Consider this activity, found on The Volunteer Family Web site (http://www.thevolunteerfamily.org).

Downtown Saco (Maine that is) is hosting its 5th Annual Great Pumpkin Fest on October 29. Organizers of the event describe it as “a glorious sight at dusk when thousands of pumpkins are lit.” Children from throughout the area are invited to carve pumpkins, don colorful costumes, and take part in activities such as the carved pumpkin contest, parade of costumes, trick-or-treating on Main Street, wagon rides, children’s concert, hay bale hunt, antique tractor show, face painting, and dance party. Can you think of a more fun way to volunteer? Children can light the pumpkins and see downtown Saco aglow in Halloween orange.

Summer may be over, but opportunities for simple projects are always available. Lemonade stands may be a thing of the past season, but cider sales can be warm and scrumptious. Host a cider stand and donate the profits to charity. Prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday by crafting creative cards from construction paper, stickers, and glue and handing them out to everyone you are grateful to have in your life. The tender touch of a child makes these all the more special. Sort through new and unused or gently loved toys and consider donating them to military families, homeless shelters, or children recently impacted by war or natural disasters.

Creativity is required, but with a little thought you can come up with your own ideas. When you do, be sure to check out the portion of The Volunteer Family Web site called “Be a Hero” and access resources to organize your own event. Get others involved. When you are done, take some time to reflect on your gift of service. Resources for reflection are also available online. “Share a Story” and photos with others. Keep track of your volunteer hours and apply for volunteering service awards. There are many ways to show your children how their caring and cooperation has made a difference in the world.

Learn more about the benefits of family volunteering and brainstorm ideas on projects you can do with your children at http://www.thevolunteerfamily.org.

The Volunteer Family is a Massachusetts-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to encourage and facilitate family volunteering and partner with local nonprofit organizations to plan family-friendly volunteer opportunities. Organizations interested in incorporating family-oriented volunteering opportunities into their strategic plan can contact Heather Jack at 508-405-2220 or visit http://www.thevolunteerfamily.org.

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