May: School’s almost done!

June: Summer Break!

July: It’s hot and I’m bored!

The mid-summer slump doesn’t have to be a downer. It can be the perfect opportunity to do some good for others. Seize the summer break to teach your young children the joy of volunteering their time to make life better for others. You’ll introduce some creativity and structure into those endless hot days and your kids will learn invaluable lessons in giving.

And it can be so very simple – no stress!

The sky’s the limit when it comes to ways to help others. You know your kids best. What would have the most impact on them? What basic acts of kindness would warm their hearts and teach them to give back to their community? Here are some ideas and resources to get you started.

Surprise a neighbor

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Is there an elderly person living nearby who could use some homemade art and a bunch of flowers? A new family down the street who needs welcoming with a huge plate of cookies? A single working parent who would love a break from the kitchen with a provided meal?

Your neighborhood is the perfect place to start your volunteer mission. What if you don’t know many neighbors? This is your chance to change that.

Last summer, my daughter and two of her friends decided to be “Mom’s helpers.” They came up with a few preschoolers in the neighborhood whom they invited over for a mini-day camp one day each week. The then-rising second graders planned activities, prepared snacks and kept the younger children busy. The moms enjoyed the much-needed break and the girls got to play “teacher.” They were very excited!

Plan a Drive

Many non-profit organizations have wish lists. Print one out and have your kids plan a drive to collect some of the items. If you know many of your neighbors or have lots of kids in the area, gather them up to work together to reach a goal. There are many different organizations that need volunteers; you can help your children pick one that interests them.

Go Online

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Visit volunteermckinney.org to search for volunteer opportunities or to learn about different organizations that need your help. Most have age restrictions, but usually you can find a way children can participate.

Challenge your family to make a difference in the lives of others and watch when it makes a difference in theirs. Spend some time showing your children how to serve others and watch as bickering turns to smiles. Your children and your community will thank you.

 

About the author: Simri Davis lives to read and loves to live in McKinney with her husband and three children.

 

(This story is reprinted from the July 2011 issue of McKinney Magazine)