When your family signs up to volunteer, be the best parent you can be by making sure your family is doing what they love. Is everyone having fun and inspiring change? Or, do your volunteering efforts fall short, leaving you feeling a lack of commitment and sense of purpose? If you want to maximize the time spent volunteering, you’ll need to keep a few things in mind. Here’s what you should know now that your family is signed up to volunteer.
Follow Through With Your Commitment
Ask yourself, would you commit to picking up trash from a park without a trash picker, plenty of bags, and a few pairs of gloves? If you’re working with a conservation group, wouldn’t you be ready to follow through if you had plenty of seeds for planting and teams of people to support you? When staying true to your commitment, consider the technology, devices, resources, and systems you employ to assist your community. Approximately 63 million Americans volunteer their time, talents, and energy to making a difference. Therefore, be a mindful parent and get a checklist going so you won’t lose time working without what you need.
An all-day event outside will require the right clothing to keep you warm or cool, dry, and comfortable. The wrong clothing could put your family at risk, increasing the likelihood of injuries and long-term health complications. As a parent, get all of the facts and make sure you know if you’re going to be working in particular conditions or on your feet for hours at a time. As long as you know, you can make sure you’re safe by wearing boots for tough terrain and winter coats for the snow.
Consider Cultural Differences
Consider everything from language barriers to differences in taste when you start volunteering. The people you meet and work with may have a way of living that’s different than you and your family’s. However, it’s in your best interests to embrace these differences and see how you can learn from them. Even if you don’t feel pressured to engage with people and organizations with different cultures, you should still take the time to address any biases you have by asking yourself how you can be more open-minded. Just think, over 200 languages are spoken in New York City, and surely other major cities throughout the country have a similar number. That means you’re more likely to win people over and make connections that you never thought you could make as long as you make a little more effort.
Be Kind and Sensitive
The same kind of thinking you used to consider cultural differences should carry over in your behavior. Wherever you’re pitching in, people may not always be nice and the community you might be working in might not be as receptive to volunteers as regular employees. Dismiss the negativity and focus instead on ways you can be more sensitive in how you approach people. In some situations, you might have a chance to show empathy, such as the case if someone you meet has lived a troubled life or recovered from some disaster. The more people you show compassion to, the more enjoyment and satisfaction you’ll get from volunteering.
Volunteer Where There Is A Need
As a parent, you’ll want to guide your skillset and resources and focus on the businesses, communities, and organizations that need them most. For example, 29% of low-income adults and 28% of young adults said they felt the appearance of their mouth and teeth affected their ability to interview for a job. Therefore, if there’s a dental clinic in need of volunteers for pro bono days, that would be a great spot for your family to volunteer. Ask yourself how far you can go to help a specific part of your community, and you’ll have all the time in the world to be there when it matters most.
Volunteering is hard work, but as a parent, you most likely know what your family is capable of and how much effort they can put into their work. Consider volunteering where there is a need and following through on your commitment the moment you sign up. As long as you have the patience and dedication, your family’s volunteering efforts will pay off for your community in the long run.