Panel – Outreach

Homeschool families are greatly involved in using their community resources!  We use our libraries, “free day” admission to museums, and many places have been kind enough to provide us with field trips – (fire station, police station, post office, bank, and grocery store to name a few).  I encourage your homeschool family to think of a way you can give back to your community!

PANEL QUESTIONshare how your family gets involved in local outreach projects. Do you try to actively plan opportunities or plan as they arise?

Maureen ~ Since I do have very young kids at home it is often difficult to go out and do service projects such as serving at our local food bank, working at our homeless shelter etc. We do make an effort though, to go as a local homeschool co-op and visit nursing homes where we sing, give cards and interact with the residents. We usually do this twice a year. My older 3 kids are often involved in service projects that are handled through our church. I do make an effort to volunteer at these activities as a family if we can. Often though, we focus on looking for ways to help our neighbors or do projects that we can do at home (such as assemble gift boxes, hygiene packs etc.).

Lori ~ We have a group that we do service with as needs arise and sometimes it’s within the group itself. For example we were on the receiving end last year when in a weekend the group demolished and rebuilt a much needed back entrance for us – we were truly blessed by the experience. Another example is a neighbors roof was damaged in a hail storm and although the insurance company was willing to pay for replacement it didn’t include labor so again in a weekend the group of families re-roofed his house. It truly is a blessing to us as much as to the recipients when we serve as a community like that. I’ve truly learned the meaning of many hands make light work and the bonus is I think my kids have learned that lesson as well. We also serve each other in our local Homeschool group as needs arise – dinners for families with new babies or those having health issues come to mind, we know in our group that we are there for each other when the needs arise, whatever they may be.

Mirinda ~ everything we’ve tried to volunteer with so far has an age limit of at least 12-14….so we are sticking with taking donations to nursing homes, food bank, etc. We also make sure our kiddos know when we financially donate to someone in need so they understand the concept.

Ellen ~ Community service is very important to our family; if, for no other reason, to remind ourselves that we are here to serve others before ourselves. As a family, we volunteer at the local Christian radio station 2-4 times a year— answering phones on their fundraisers, mailing out newsletters, running a drink/food stand at one of their outdoor concerts, etc. In our scouting groups we helped the local parks (state parks, Chickamauga Battlefield, etc) with trail clean-up and planting flowers and trees, initiated neighborhood food drives to fill the church’s food pantry or to donate to the local Food Bank, assisted in annual Alzheimer’s Walks, nursing home visits, and many more. Now going into their 5th year, our two oldest volunteer twice a month at Creative Discovery Museum, a hands-on museum for kids where they have acquired many skills.

Crystal ~ We don’t have a set schedule for volunteer work, but I do involve the kids in community service as often as possible. I also strive to set an example by my own involvement in community service–which has opened many doors to various volunteer opportunities for the kids. We’ve sorted and organized donated clothing for foster children, made gift baskets and distributed them to the residents at the area nursing homes, written letters to servicemen in Iraq, and my oldest daughter volunteered at a veterinarian clinic on a bi-weekly basis for two years—the possibilities are endless. Senior centers, nursing homes, foster care agencies, libraries, veterinarian clinics, animal shelters, and homeless shelters are often looking for volunteers—begin by calling and inquiring about the opportunities for service in your area.
Cheryl ~ Service and volunteering is an area I have vowed to improve upon this year, I am scheduling one volunteer project a month (large or small, it does not matter) as part of our homeschool curriculum. When kids are young though, it can be difficult to find group activities in which everyone can join. That’s why it’s so important to foster a spirit of generosity in our children. We “volunteer” where we can with the little one in tow, whether that’s shoveling snow, babysitting for sick friend or taking meals to a new mother. Our latest “service” project was baking a birthday cake for our 74 year old neighbor, whose wife has Alzheimer’s and no longer remembers his big day. Little things count!

Susan ~ Our family has participated in enrichment classes at a large church in our area weekly since my oldest son began kindergarten. The core mission of this homeschool ministry is to instill the value of service in our children from an early age… that it might become a lifelong habit of joy. Some of our projects have included donating requested items and calling cards to our soldiers, painting pictures for little ones at the children’s hospital, making scripture-filled greeting cards for hurting children, cleaning the church trolleys, etc. We look forward to these projects each semester. As a family, we engage in a variety of service activities, but our most enduring tradition is preparing shoe boxes for Operation Christmas child, our “Christmas buddies” as we affectionately deem them!

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