Help Your Neighbor, While Teaching your Kids Valuable Lessons
Looking for opportunities to volunteer with your kids isn't always easy. Some organizations require orientations or time commitments that just don't work with your schedule. Instead of seeking out opportunities far and wide, why not help your own neighbors? Elderly neighbors especially can use assistance with even little things like errands and meals, but sometimes they don't have family close to help out or are too afraid to ask. Here are some ways your whole family can get involved (and learn a little too):
1. Cook a Warm Meal
Everyone loves a good home-cooked meal, but a gourmet stovetop creation might not be feasible for your elderly neighbor. Prepare a healthy meal (with enough leftovers your neighbor can heat later), and either bring the kids along to deliver it or invite your neighbor over to dine with your family. Your neighbor will benefit from a healthy meal and the time socializing with others while your kids can learn important skills about interecting with and respecting their elders, sharing, and appropriate behavior around company.
Related: Volunteer Your Family Hobby
2. Help Around the House
Shoveling snow in the winter or cutting grass in the summer can be dangerous for the elderly, but keeping their yards and gardens neat is a favorite hobby for many. How can your family help? Pitch in with yardwork - raking leaves, mowing the lawn, digging holes for plants, etc. Occaional inside chores like dusting or vacuuming are super helpful too. Finish up your family day of helping out with shared lemonade and cookies with your neighbor. Your kids can take the lead on finding fun projects to help with and communicating with your neighbor about schedules while learning important lessons around compassion, dedication and time management.
Check out how one college student started a volunteer-powered lawn service for the elderly in his community >>
3. Run Errands
Have a teenager who can drive? A great service opportunity for them (and something to do while they're off school for the summer) is help an elderly neighbor get around. Grabbing groceries, prescriptions, pet food and other errands can be huge taks for an elderly person who cannot drive or who tires easily when shopping. Simple quick trips like this give your teen time to interact with another person who has lots of stories and experience to share too!
4. Don’t be afraid to ASK!
Sometimes the best thing you can do is just ask. You can’t really know what someone needs without asking and your neighbor might surprise you - maybe the best way to help them out is a simple trip, a short visit or a hand-drawn card from your kids, you never know!