Encourage early start on volunteering Print
Thursday, Apr. 20, 2017 -- 12:00 AM

Most children like the idea of helping others. Parents find this out when they ask their children to help pick up their toys or help set the table or clean up dishes after a meal.

We’ve encouraged our grandchildren to help when they visit our house. They seem happy to assist us, and I’m pleased to see they help when they visit other places.

Volunteering — like so many things — begins in the home. But it’s also important to teach kids about helping others outside of the home. As followers of Christ, we have an extra incentive in living out His commandment to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves.

janesville chemo kits
Students from St. Mary School in Janesville collected items and made Chemo Care Kits for Kids during Lent. Students created get well cards and the kits were donated to the American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison. (Contributed photo)
Encourage children to volunteer

As we prepare to celebrate National Volunteer Week, April 23 to 29, it is a good opportunity for parents and grandparents to talk with children about volunteering and how they can help make the world a better place.

Points of Light, the organization that promotes the national week, has a website ( offering ideas for parents and educators to encourage children to volunteer.

They suggest parents sit down with their children and talk about these questions:

• What interests us? What do we care about most?

• What do we like to do?

• What skills and talents can we offer?

• What projects would be suitable for all our family members?

• How much time do we have?

• How might the volunteering experience benefit our family?

With Earth Day coming up on April 22, family members could get involved in a clean-up project in their community or sign up for litter pickup on a local street.

Catholic schools involved in service projects

Many Catholic schools in the Diocese of Madison are involved in service projects throughout the year. Pictured here is one recent project held at St. Mary School in Janesville. Families can check with their local Catholic school to see how they can get involved in or support these ongoing service projects.

Let’s encourage our children to get an early start on volunteering in their homes and communities. Hopefully they will establish habits which will continue into adulthood.