Family ties to service

Jul 22, 2011

photo credit: iBjorn photo licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

by Sarah Moreland

If you are a member of a Kiwanis-family club, you’re bonded in spirit to the worldwide family. But it might be difficult to engage your own family in volunteering. One key is to personalize projects for each person’s strengths, appeal to his or her interests, and then let it be.

Know their skills

You know your family better than anyone else—use that knowledge!  Is your son fantastic with numbers? Ask him to help sell raffle tickets at your next fundraiser. Does your spouse connect well with children? Invite him or her to help tutor students from underprivileged backgrounds. People often volunteer more readily if they know the project fits their skills.

Shake it up

What if, say, your child prefers outdoor activities—and you prefer quieter craft projects indoors? Compromise! Alternate between the two, or find a project that includes both. For instance: making sock puppets and letting your child host a puppet show outside for the neighbors.

Keep it light

If family members don’t want to get involved in a particular project, don’t nag. Make sure they know the invitation to join you some other time is open. When your family finally gets involved, they’ll volunteer freely—and they’ll be more likely to continue serving children and the community alongside you.
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