SUMMER SOLUTION - Time to volunteer!
Kids can develop ethics, build a resume, and burn energy.
Do your kids have more energy than you do? Chances are they do and that can make summer parenting a special challenge. Kids are normally kept occupied during the school year, but for those ten weeks (or so) during summer it's up to the parents to entertain their kids. Thankfully, Catholic Online's Summer Solutions are designed to give energetic kids something to do, away from the television.
There are a lot of volunteer opportunities for kids. Walking dogs, feeding the homeless, cleaning up, opportunities abound!
As a bonus, know that volunteering can make a great entry on a college application and a resume. In fact, the unemployed are strongly encouraged to volunteer to enhance their resume. Volunteering also creates interpersonal network connections that can open doors to new opportunities later.
Volunteer around the house - Usually known as chores, kids need structure in the household to keep them busy and develop a work ethic. Naturally, kids hate and resist chores, but in addition to developing an ethic of work and responsibility, chores can also teach useful life skills. A child that helps in the kitchen learns cooking. A child that helps in the yard learns gardening. Your children may not appreciate these skills now, but they will be useful later.
Ask kids to do some volunteer work around the house. Have them take on a special project or ask them to assist with a regular duty. Make sure the chore is appropriate and builds confidence. If a child can take pride in the result, it goes a long way toward reinforcing the behavior. Make sure you offer a resonant reward. Special privileges work well. Yes, there should always be some positive reinforcement from the parent.
Some other examples: Take care of animals, take care of siblings, make lunch for the family, help dad (or mom!) in the garage or on the car.
Volunteer in the neighborhood - For older kids, neighborhood volunteering is an easy option. We all have neighbors who are sick, shut-in, or just need a hand. For many reasons, remember to take reasonable, common sense safety precautions when sending your kids into the neighborhood to volunteer. If possible, be present.
Kids can easily mow lawns, wash cars, sweep sidewalks, and clean up local areas. For folks who are sick or shut-in, they can deliver meals, offer to take out garbage, or pick up some groceries. Look for volunteer opportunities that keep kids outdoors and within adult sight. This keeps kids focused and allows you to monitor any interactions with other neighborhood kids and adults.
Volunteering is easy, it's as simple as knocking on a door with a rake or broom in hand and making an offer. Most neighbors will decline offers of help, even if they need it. Be diplomatic about your approach - you don't want to make it sound like you're critiquing the condition of somebody's front yard! Instead, go with your kids and explain to your host that one of their summer activities is to volunteer throughout the neighborhood. Make clear that no rewards or pay can be accepted. Snacks and refreshments are fine if offered, but kids should not accept any material rewards.
Community volunteering - Community volunteering is very common and is ideal for older kids and teenagers. These activities are normally structured. To get involved you merely need to visit your local charitable organization and offer your services.
Naturally, your parish is a great place to start. In fact, volunteering AT the parish is a great first choice. Churches need a lot of work to stay maintained and anything you do is always appreciated.
Beyond the parish, several community organizations need help. Animal shelters, soup kitchens, hospitals and care facilities usually accept volunteers. Libraries, museums, and visitor centers also appreciate any help. Most organizations vet and background check their employees and volunteers. Check to see that your child will be a fit for the organization before making a trip.
While many schools now compel students to do service hours or service learning, there's no reason why service should stop during the summer. A lot of people volunteer and donate during the holiday season, but need doesn't abate with the warmer weather.
Keep your kids busy, learning, and building their resumes as well as a sense of ethical responsibility by volunteering this summer.
© 2012, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Volunteer, summer solution, ethic, resume, experience, community, church
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