Turning volunteering into a family gig…
September 24, 2012 2 Comments
A special guest post from contributor and attendee at 9/11 Family Day of Service, Tonya Kostrzewa. Thanks for your service, Tonya & family! Read about what families accomplished at our first ever Family Day of Service here.
I love to volunteer.
I am a stay at home mom with five kids and this has given me some great opportunities to volunteer for causes I am passionate about, Girl Scouts, Girls on the Run and spending time in the kids’ classrooms. Though, I have always had a hard time finding a way for my kids to get in on the wonderful experience. Sure, they do the lemonade stand for Eleanor House and save their pennies for the Gospel Mission but, there was never really anything for us to do as a family for our community. How are we going to contribute as a family???
Then, I saw it! A post on Facebook from Volunteer Kalamazoo for their Family Day of Service that took place on September 11th from 4-7 at the Radisson Hotel downtown. I signed us up immediately.
The kids were beyond thrilled to attend. To help people. To “volunteer”.
The event was amazing. From the moment we arrived, with 5 kids in tow aging from 4-10 the Volunteer Kalamazoo community was warm and welcoming. They gave us a list of the activities the kids could do to help others. The kids set off with purpose, they were on a volunteering mission. This was their first volunteering gig and they were serious. We let them chose everything they wanted to do, we organized papers for Girls on the Run and my 10 yr old and I wondered if it would be what came in my coach’s box. My 8 yr old son who has sensory issues, went straight to the Open Roads Bike Program booth and began taking apart bikes, soon my 4 yr old joined. They wrote letters to the Police Officers, thanking them for their service to the community. They decorated beautiful cards for kids who are having a rough go at school. Even when my 6 yr old became a, “glitter glue hog”, the women just smiled and said that is what it was there for. They thanked the girls and kept remarking on how beautiful their cards were.
There was singing, kids were dancing and there was nachos. I know, now you wish you were there.
This gave the girls and I an idea.
When we got home we sent an email to all of our neighbors telling them of need. We put a bin on our front porch for neighbors to drop off items for me to deliver to the Gospel Mission. The kids added more pictures and went through blankets and toys to donate.
So, even though the Family day of Service ended at 7pm on September 11th. For our family, it planted the seeds of volunteer service to our children and we are thrilled to watch it grow.