Every year, I get together with my family for a fun, one day activity at our church. It’s a few solid hours of unpacking, sorting, and categorizing various gifts to give away to needy families.
We always have a couple of mugs of Tim Horton’s coffee for fuel during the packing, and we go out to dinner afterwards. Our energy levels and optimism are highest at the beginning of the day. We quickly become tired and thirsty, and need to laugh and joke to keep going. It becomes an activity that is as much about our family togetherness as it is about volunteering for a greater cause.
When my brother and I were younger, we spent a lot of time doing physical labor on our grandmother’s property. This was always with the supervision and support of my parents; we would stack cords of wood, rake leaves, pile hay, and mow the grass. These were good character-building exercises that I’m very grateful for to this day. Volunteering together as a family brings back these happy memories.
Volunteering as a family is a way to participate in a broader issue that you’re passionate about, with the people you love. It can be the simplest activity in the world – for example, standing by the sidelines of an event to raise money – but can raise feelings of caring, togetherness, and well-being. I also think that it can create good work ethic and responsibility in younger children.
If you’re interested in trying this out with your family, there are lots of opportunities in Waterloo Region! The Working Centre often posts volunteer opportunities; the Volunteer Action Centre regularly brings together community members and volunteer organizations; and lastly, Charity Village has details on volunteer jobs across Canada.
As we approach the holidays, bringing the family together for a larger cause can be a great way to start the new year on a positive note!