Volunteering with Young Children

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Five Steps for Giving Back With Your Young Children

Unfortunately for many of us, volunteering is like dieting.  You really want to do it, and know you will feel better after you do it, but it is hard to make it a priority in your busy mom life. Many “diets” offer this same advice for success.  Hopefully this will help you as well whether you want to volunteer once a week or once a year.

  1. Partner up.  Robin and I have seen each other almost every day for the past two years.  During those two years we have done really great stuff with our kids.  Whether it be stopping at Smeek’s Candy store on Camelback and then catching the lightrail down to the science center, or taking the kids hiking followed by a picnic at Thunderbird Park.  Because we work well with each other planning daily activities, we have partnered up to include our kids on small projects to give back to our community.  In general, we try to rotate volunteering ideas so we don’t feel overwhelmed.
  2. Plan ahead. Just like planning your meals out, it helps to research your projects in advance.  Wish lists for Phoenix Children’s Hospital and Phoenix Crisis Nursery are great places to start and get ideas flowing.  Also, eventful.com for Phoenix is a great online resource that lists valley events and fundraisers.
  3. Write it down.  We realize that blogs are generally self-centered and ours is too to some degree.  But we figured if we didn’t write it down, accountability would slip.  If neither of us told that we didn’t give back that week, who else would hold us accountable? Now we have readers who are expecting a weekly update.
  4. Set small and big goals. Our small goal is to do one good thing a week for the community.  We don’t have to reinvent any wheel, we just have to do something for the community once a week (of course we can do more).  We do want to have a big goal for the year.  We are just starting, but maybe a huge book drive, or an even bigger goal would be to have a baby shower for one of the moms at Maggie’s Place here in the valley.
  5. Allow for mistakes and life. Almost every diet starts strong and then after a couple of days, you slip.  Someone has a party, you eat one too many cupcakes, the candy bar calls your name, or have one too many cocktails.  The same thing in volunteering – life happens.   Already our week three experienced LIFE.  We already knew we were time crunched, because Robin’s family had an out of town wedding so they had to leave mid week.  My kids started out the week with snotty noses and we didn’t want that to show up at the wedding.  Cavities also had to be filled.  We decided to look at our own house for inspiration and donate books to our local Phoenix library.

Hopefully these steps help or inspire you to take on small projects.  Right now, giving back once a week is achievable for us.  Soon, things will change. Robin is going back to work this fall and I am planning on having another baby.  We will just have to plan and adjust.

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Robin and Seana chronical their volunteering efforts at Sprouting Change.  They hope to teach their children the importance of kindness, generosity and compassion.  They made a pledge to involve their children in charity work once a week.   By writing about these experiences, they are staying accountable and hope to encourage other to volunteer as well.

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