November 12, 2010

Find Volunteer Opportunities for Families This Holiday Season

I really am a big proponent of giving back through volunteering. It's a life lesson I am hopefully teaching my children as well. Every year we have signed up as bell-ringers, been volunteer shoppers for Warm The Children, helped out at Food Gatherers and Growing Hope, and anywhere else that I can find where my children can participate. What I haven't found though, was one website that might help me find the best opportunities for volunteering locally and instead I've gone directly to the individual organizations. Wouldn't it be nice to go to one place to find opportunities for volunteering? Now there is.

The Blueprint for Aging, sponsored by Catholic Social Services of Washtenaw County, is leveraging its new volunteer website,, to communicate holiday giving and volunteering opportunities. In addition to the website’s usual formal volunteer programs, the site has been opened up to communicate one-time opportunities for individuals, families, and groups to help others this holiday season.

My quick check-in to the site revealed many opportunities to give and volunteer, and the best part is, there is an area where families can look for opportunities for their younger children to participate in! So let's all give back to our communities to find “Something Worth Doing”.
I'll be back throughout the year looking for opportunities for myself, my children, and likely my cub scout den, you should too. Visit the Volunteer Washtenaw website today!


  1. Hi. Thanks for a great post with ideas for giving back. I am curious about what ages your kids are when they have been allowed to join you for volunteer activities. I have a 4 year old. Food Gatherers website states kids must be >14. Thanks for any tips.

  2. I have a 4 and 6 year old and began with opportunities with my son when he was 4.

    I'd call Foodgatherers, there are times when they allow families to help out and gear the projects to fit within the confines of the childs limitations. Last year when my son was 5, he and I volunteered and ended up putting together bags of carrott cake. I believe the opportunity was a family volunteer day during one of his breaks!

    So long as you ring the bell with your child, we started volunteering with the Salvation Army when he was 4. They typically can't stand the entire time, however he made it a good hour that first year.

    Growing Hope also has many opportunities including being part of the seed starting squad.

    Even something as having them help with a canned food drive or the Angel Tree at Brairwood Mall begins to introduce the concepts. Introducing the kids early means they want to help out later and not need to be forced to do so. I say lead by example even when they are young.