A year or so ago, I discovered Be A Blessing Birmingham, a volunteer organization in our area that provides support to the local homeless and needy on a monthly basis. At first, our family supported the organization with donations. All those small hotel shampoos and conditioners we had collected, donated. Two pairs of my husband’s work boots that were not being worn, donated. Multiple winter coats, donated.
When it got really cold and sleeping bags were being requested, I found a great deal online and two low-temperature sleeping bags, donated. But, I wanted to do more than just donate items. I wanted to help as much as possible and teach my boys about helping the less fortunate.
One of the great benefits of homeschooling is flexibility. All of our learning is not done at the kitchen table. We have time for the things important to our family. We can take a day off from “school work” to volunteer in the community.
So we started attending work days for the organization. The job doesn’t end with collecting donations. The donations need to be sorted and organized. The items need to be packed for the monthly Blessings Days. Hands are needed to do this. We have hands available, and as I found out recently, we also have tender hearts that WANT to help.
In the work days we have attended, the boys have packed bags with toilet paper, water bottles and socks. We have stocked donated items, and helped inventory. We have sorted and folded new wash clothes to help with ease of distributing. We have sorted clothing donations.
While working during our last volunteer day, my oldest sang a song he made up about helping. My youngest finishes whatever task he is working on and promptly asks “What else can I do?”
A couple of weeks ago, when I told my oldest that we were starting Spring Break the next day by going to a work day and afterward the zoo, he said something to the effect of Woohoo. I asked if he was “woohoo-ing” the work day or the zoo, and he said “Both! I like helping.”
We participate in a homeschool coop, and I shared a lesson on altruism with the kids. I read The Can Man by Laura E. Williams to our group. It touched my heart to see how intent the kids were on the story. There was discussion about helping others and about how it would feel to not have a home.
Afterward, the kids (and grown-ups) decorated cards to donate for the Blessing Bags.
We used Blessings tags from Thirty Handmade Days, and the love and attention the kids put into their art made my heart smile.
This lesson in altruism reminded me again of all that homeschooling has done for our family; the time it has given me with my kids, the flexibility and opportunities it has allowed, and I am thankful that the circumstances of our life led us on this path.
Is volunteering a part of your homeschool or family life? What ways have you found to give back? Feel free to share in the comments.
Thank you for reading & sharing!!! Amy