Our office closes each day from 12:00 to 1:00 pm for our staff to take lunch. I had left my cell phone in my car so I ran out to grab it. As I was unlocking the door to come back in the building, a man, his wife and his five children approached me. They had plastic grocery sacks in their hands. I said hello and he explained they were out doing a random acts of kindness. They were picking up trash around our building. How nice is that! I thanked them and he asked if there was anything else they could do to help us. I said we have a weekend feeding program and we're always in need of extra hands to help serve the meals. He said that was a good idea. I ran in and grapped a flyer with the program information and gave it to him. He told me they would finish picking up trash around the grounds. I thanked them again. Such a thoughtful thing to do especially in this 90 degree heat we're having today.
Stress and Relaxation
I moved recently and when I was packing up my apartment I came across an old art project I had made in junior high school. It is a large envelope we used in class to store our drawings, watercolors and other art projects for the year. Each one of us designed the front of the envelope with our name, birthdate and drawings of things we enjoyed doing. Below is a picture of my envelope.
As I was reading Major Tom's blog about Stress it reminded me of this art envelope. When I rediscovered it, I realized that not much has changed since I was a kid. I still enjoy doing all of the things I decorated my envelope with and all of them are things I do to help me find peace when my life is stressful.
What about you? Are there things you did as a child or young adult that remind you of a more peaceful time in your life? What are they? Why did you stop doing them? Life is busy for everyone. It seems we're constantly running from one project or committment to another. Stop. Slow Down. Reflect on the days of your youth and get back into the routine of doing those things you once enjoyed.
As Ferris Bueller said, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
How Do I Get My Kids Involved in Volunteering?
Have you ever thought:
I wish my kids were more grateful?
I work so hard to give my children everything I didn't have when I was young. Why don't they appreciate it?
My children don't take care of the things we give them, why?
How do I teach my kids to understand the value of what we provide for them?
Having these types of thoughts does not make you a bad parent. They make you human. Over the years in my role as a volunteer coordinator, I've had parents contact me with these same concerns. I had a mom say to me, "My son doesn't know how good he has it. I want him to serve in a soup kitchen." I would caution you against this. Remember when you were young and your parents tried to make you do something you didn't want to do? How did you feel? How did you react?
Volunteering is a wonderful opportunity to engage in activities you enjoy. They should never be presented in a way where your child would see them as a form of punishment. Again, you are not alone. You love your children and you want what's best for them. I would encourage you to engage them in a volunteer activity that coorelates to something they already enjoy doing. Something you could do together or as a family. We volunteer to help others and feel good about giving back. Sharing activities like volunteering with your family hit on a number of positive levels:
You spend quality time together
You learn something new as a family
You help others
You give back
What are your children interested in? When you connect them to a volunteer activity that is in an area they enjoy, this shows them that you're care about what they like. That you're listening and paying attention to their preferences. And it will make volunteering together more enjoyable.
Here at The Salvation Army of Sioux Falls we have plenty of opportunities for families to volunteer together:
1. Collect non perishable food items for our food pantry.
2. Purchase dessert and serve it at our Night Watch weekend feeding program.
3. Does your family enjoy doing crafts together? Make cards or centerpieces for our Senior Neighbor Luncheon program.
We live in a wonderful community filled with organizations who would love to have you volunteer with them. For more information about volunteer opportunities in our community, visit www.helplinecenter.org.
Social Responsibility and Community Involvement
Part of my job as the Development Director for The #SalvationArmy here in #SiouxFalls requires me to spend time researching local companies to see if they have a Social Responsibility or Community Involvement program. When someone calls me and asks how they could get their company involved with giving back, I get excited. Need is prevalent 365 days of the year. We're always looking to partner with individuals and companies. It is one of my favorite parts of my job.
I recently read a great piece in BizNowMagazine about "4 Reasons Why Your Business Should Support A Nonprofit."
1. It Boosts Employee Morale. I just stopped out at a house the Army National Guard is painting for us. This is something they're completing on their leave day. It was great to see their interaction. Everyone was smiling and joking as they worked on transforming a house for a senior.
2. You get Tax Benefits. "Be sure to work with a non profit that is approved by the IRS. Donations you can deduct include volunteered services, sponsorship of events, donations of products or services and cash donations." Anytime The Salvation Army makes a call for donations, our community responses. We're so grateful.
3. Free Publicity. "When you volunteer your company's time, it's a great way to raise awareness for a good cause, as well as a chance to promote your business in partnership with a nonprofit." We believe in thanking all of our donors, supporters and volunteers. We use our social media accounts and website to make sure everyone knows about the good each company is doing in our community.
4. Gain Customer Support. "Getting involved in nonprofit causes shows your customers that you really do care about your community." From our standpoint, when a company becomes involved with one of our programs we offer to those in need, we consider that a Win-Win-Win. You Win by getting your company involved in your local community. We Win by receiving your support. And the most important Win, those in need benefit from our partnership. If you're looking for a project or thinking about volunteering, connect with me. I'd enjoy showing you how you can make a difference in Sioux Falls.
Does your employer offer company volunteer opportunities?