‘Tis the season for giving back. Every holiday season, from Thanksgiving through New Years, it seems like everyone is looking for places to volunteer and ways to give back to others.
I’m all for giving back, but it shouldn’t be something we only do this time of year. Giving year-round will make the most impact on your mindset, your children and the community in general.
My family is always looking for new ways to give back, and I’m so proud that my children have sought out opportunities to volunteer on their own.
One of the ways both Jack and Charlie have given back is through the Miracle League of Arizona. It’s a organization that helps children, teens and adults with special health care needs and disabilities to have the experience of playing baseball. Jack volunteered for the organization for two years and Charlie has worked with them for more than five years now–even becoming an ambassador, leader and part of the board of directors. Charlie and I also participated in the organization’s annual Day on the Lake event, helping those with disabilities to get out on the lake and waterski!
Of course, there are plenty of other ways to volunteer as a family or individual year-round. Some of these include:
- Elks Club – The Elks Club is a community organization dedicated to the betterment of the area. It offers scholarships, veterans services, community development and other services and members serve the club and community in a variety of ways.
- Food Banks – Food banks are always looking for people to put together meal kits, serve meals in the soup kitchens and perform other duties. There’s a need year-round, not just during the holidays.
- Teacher Helper – Your children’s teachers can always use support. After all, they are helping you raise your children! Volunteer to help at field day, as a classroom helper or even in the front office of the school. There’s always something to do!
- UMOM New Day Centers – UMom helps people who are experiencing homelessness, and they’re always looking for help and donations. You can read to children at the shelters, help with life skills training, work in the administrative offices, help out in the child development center or assist with a special project. UMOM is located in the Phoenix area, but there are similar organizations across the globe.
- VolunteerMatch – Looking for more ideas? Search VolunteerMatch for opportunities, and even sign up to have alerts delivered to your inbox when volunteer activities that meet your interests become available.
If you’re just getting started and are looking for quick ways you can give back this holiday season, here are some ideas:
- Adopt a Family – Visit your local shelter, St. Vincent de Paul Society or community organizations for ways to support a family through the holidays. You’ll get wish lists from the family members so you can buy gifts for everyone and you can often even deliver a holiday meal to them.
- Angel Trees – Malls and big box stores like Walmart and Target have trees set up with ornaments that have children’s names, ages and sizes on them. You choose an ornament or two, then get to enjoy shopping for the children. It’s a great way to make their holiday season a little brighter.
- Store Layaways – People often use layaway to buy big items that they couldn’t otherwise afford. Surprise them by going to the layaway department of any store and paying down (or off) their balance. It’s just the best feeling to be able to do this!
No matter what you decide to do, or for how long, giving back is an important part of community and life. I encourage you to do what you can! It doesn’t have to cost you anything but time. The feeling of making someone else’s day is worth it, ten-fold!