The Honeycomb Project, one of the only family volunteering organizations in the country, specializes in providing meaningful opportunities for parents and kids of all ages to get involved, give back and engage their activism muscle. Co-Founders Kristina Lowenstein and Catherine Tannen share their top five tips for making an impact, starting now:
1. Think Local
Giving back and volunteering can start right at home or in your neighborhood. Encourage your family to do something thoughtful for a neighbor, a mail person, a teacher or local fire fighter. Small acts of service like a homemade card or baking and delivering cookies can have a big impact and help your family appreciate the joy of giving.
2. Rally Your Neighbors
Volunteering can be a powerful means to improve and strengthen your community. Whether you’re organizing a food drive for a local shelter or beautifying your neighborhood school or park, you’ll maximize your impact by working with other families. Plus your kids will learn the value of collaboration and might meet new friends!
3. Create a Giving Habit
Use the holidays as a launching pad for volunteering on a regular basis. The repeated and routine act of volunteering helps ingrain the pattern in your family and instill a lifelong habit of philanthropy. Look past December and figure out ways to help your community all year round. January and February are cold, dreary months with plenty of need for food, warm clothing and compassion. Host a pajama party and collect pajamas and children books for a local shelter. Think about hosting a “Christmas in July” food drive and recapture the holiday season in the middle of the summer.
4. Listen & Learn
You’ve probably heard your kids comment on things they observe every day like litter in your park or crime in a neighborhood. Listen to these concerns, ask your kids open-ended questions and discuss ways in which your family can make a difference. By following their lead in developing a volunteer project, you’ll get your kids excited about service and promote empathy, personal responsibility and leadership.
5. Do Your Homework
Volunteering with your family can be a great opportunity for your kids to lean about difficult issues through hands-on experiences and personal observations. Think about ways to help connect your kids to the big picture problem. Plan projects with visual and tangible results such as a beach clean-up or collecting school supplies for a school in need. Check out Honeycomb Project’s resource guides on Hunger and Poverty, Environmental Protection, Clean Water and Homelessness.