Donna Kane, MA
Every now and then, juggling work, parenting, and family responsibilities causes me to disconnect from the simple pleasures that help me feel closer to my family. Cooking a meal, playing a board game, even going for a walk together can bring a family closer. Volunteering for community service projects is another way to strengthen family ties.
There are many reasons for a family to volunteer. Community service strengthens our community, and when the community is healthy, it benefits us as individuals as well. Then there are the satisfaction and pride that come from helping others. Putting the needs of others before your own feels good. Another benefit of community service is that it can strengthen your family. Committing your time and effort to an organization or cause of your choice can result in a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment.
If you are thinking that in a perfect world this sounds great, but not exactly doable when it’s almost impossible to have any down time after work and family commitments, I suggest downsizing — thinking smaller. Select one or two projects to do each year. A community clean-up in the spring, serving Christmas dinner at a homeless shelter, or making gift baskets for nursing home residents are just some activities that do not require a weekly commitment, but still help to make someone’s world a bit brighter.
Volunteering as a family can help children continue a commitment to community service as adults. It becomes a part of their everyday life and experiences. Since children can meet people from many different backgrounds while volunteering, this is also a good way for them to learn tolerance – another benefit both to the community and to the family.
Donna Kane, MA, Community Liaison, Access Services, Jewish Community Services, Baltimore
For volunteer opportunities at JCS, please call 410-466-9200 or visit www.jcsbaltimore.org/Volunteer.
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