With another school year having come to an end and summer upon us, many parents are planning their kid’s summer activities. Although summer is a time for kids to take a break from the sometimes stressful demands of school and simply have fun, it is also a good idea to take advantage of the free time and extra energy that these warm months bring to have children do something constructive. There are many summer activities that children can partake in that will keep them learning, despite being outside the classroom. If parents choose to help their kids partake in these activities, or better yet, do these activities with them, they are also getting in quality time as a family. Volunteering together is a great activity that combines all of these benefits.
When you choose to volunteer with your family, you are not only making a difference in your community, but you are teaching your children the importance of giving back and the great values that come with this experience, such as compassion, gratitude, commitment and teamwork. Having your children actually participate in your volunteer activities rather than simply tag along will help them develop leadership skills and, as they get older, they may have the desire to continue volunteering independently as individuals.
Meals on Wheels is the perfect opportunity to volunteer with your family. We not only allow you to volunteer with your kids, we encourage it! Our meal delivery service has you bringing hot meals to seniors or people with disabilities, but, consequently, you are also checking in on them, as you are sometimes their only form of human contact for the day. Bringing your child with you to deliver the meal provides another form of human interaction for the recipient. The smiling face of a child is enough to brighten anyone’s day! As well, your child is being given the opportunity to interact with others outside of their daily community.
You and your child’s experience from volunteering does not have to stop when you finish your route. We encourage you to talk to your kids about the experience both before and after finishing your deliveries. Explain to your children the importance of what you are doing, and how these meals positively impact their recipients. Let your children tell you what they learned and how they feel about the whole experience. Allow them to provide insight on what it is like interact with the recipients. We are more than willing to provide material that could guide you through these discussions. While our senior recipients are priority, we want to make sure that you and your family get the most out of this volunteer opportunity too!
At Meals on Wheels Ottawa, we recognize that every single individual that chooses to volunteer a couple hours of their day, week or month is the reason that we are able to succeed in delivering meals to those in need. We value each of our volunteers, and that would include everyone in your family who you choose to volunteer with, no matter how young!