Nathalie recently wrote about what an uplifting experience WE Day Family was. It’s no surprise that we both left wondering how to make a contribution with our families because, well, it’s kind of hard to be in the midst of that kind of inspiration and not want to add to the momentum. The question isn’t so much whether to join in or to give back, but how.
WE Families has some amazing advice on this front. First, as a family, talk about the issues. Which stand out for your kids? What are they inspired by, and what worries them? Find out who or what they most want to help, and set your sights there.
Once you know what issue you want to focus on as a family, assess your talents. We Families believe in this equation: Gift + Issue = Change. The idea is that each family has unique gifts to share, and when you direct these gifts towards an issue you care about, volunteerism becomes even more personal and powerful.
Here are 10 possibilities on how to utilize your family’s gifts:
1. Academics. Is your kid a strong reader or a math wiz? Launch a read-a-thon or a math-a-thon and collect pledges. A spelling bee also never fails to charm.
2. Athletics. If your kid is a natural athlete, why not organize a sports tournament for charity. Do they like to go the distance? Maybe they can collect pledges for every kilometre they walk, run, or swim.
3. Arts. If your kids like to draw or paint, create note cards and sell them. My nieces and nephews once made cards from photographs they took of indigenous culture in Central America. I cherished these cards – they were beautiful and useful items, and heightened cross-cultural awareness.
4. Music. Could the little musicians in your life set up a concert at a local retirement home? This is especially lovely at holiday time. What about a charity concert or an open mic night at school? Small and manageable is great too. My nieces and nephews put on a play every Thanksgiving – maybe next year they can charge for admission and donate the proceeds to a destination of their choosing.
5. Computers. If your kids are great with computers, maybe they could contact a charity and offer their services. Social media mavens are in huge demand.
6. Listening. If your child is a great listener, maybe they could start a peer counselling group, or simply reach out as a friendly ear to someone who needs to talk.
7. Talking. If your child is a passionate communicator, encourage them to research and speak about an issue they care about at school. Running for student counsel is also a means to create change and develop leadership skills.
8. Crafting. If making things is second nature to your child, create some crafty items to sell at a fair and donate the proceeds.
9. Baking. Mmm. Need I say more?
10. Animals. Our local humane society needs volunteer dog walkers, bunny cuddlers, and more. If your child loves animals, this is an amazing way to give and get lots of furry love. Or offer catsitting and dogwalking services, and donate the funds.
Sometimes the needs of the world seem so mammoth, it’s hard to know where to begin. Especially now, given that last week was a hard week. But the best antidote to crushing disappointment may simply be to do something positive. WE Families has tons of ideas and inspiration and tools to make it happen – there’s even a WE Day app!
Aim high or go manageable: just do something positive. If you’ve got children, get them involved and let them guide your family onto higher ground. Forge the deep connections that volunteering together brings, and know that you’re raising more concious, socially responsible kids that the world desperately needs. Do good, and have fun!