How to find family volunteer opportunities

Taking time to help others this holiday season can teach children how to contribute to their communities and give families valuable time together.

By GreatSchools Staff

You and your family can give your time and talents to those who need it this holiday season. It's a way to teach your kids that you value community service and that a group of people can accomplish more than one person alone.

Do a little family brainstorming to settle on the type of project everyone would enjoy. If you enjoy being outdoors, you might want to help restore a creek or clean up the beach. If it's snowing outside, cooking and serving dinner at a soup kitchen might be a better option. Once you settle on an area of interest, check these resources to get started:

American's Second Harvest/The Nation's Food Bank Network
Type your ZIP code in the "search" box and find the food bank nearest you.

The Network for Good
This organization's goal is to connect people to charities through the Internet. The site has a search tool to pinpoint volunteer organizations that welcome children or teens. It also includes a useful list of 10 Tips on Volunteering Wisely.

Idealist.org
Action Without Borders is a New York-based nonprofit organization with offices in Philadelphia, PA; Charlottesville, VA; and Buenos Aires, Argentina. It has a searchable database with volunteer opportunities, as well as information about how to start a project.

Volunteer match
A great resource to help you find an organization that aligns with how you'd like to help, whether it's for the homeless, elderly, animals, the environment, and more.

Doing good together
Expressly family-focused, Doing Good Together' “inspires and helps family volunteer.” The site is filled with ideas on how parents and kids can volunteer and help others, from cleaning up a local park to reading stories together to kids in the hospital.