Instill a sense of giving back

The fourth Saturday in October is National Make A Difference Day. This USA TODAY initiative is organized in collaboration with the Points of Light Foundation and Newman’s Own Foundation. 2015 marks the 24th year of volunteers uniting to improve the lives of others – of neighbors helping neighbors.

I grew up with parents who volunteered in the community. I grew up with parents who encouraged me to help others, to volunteer. Some call it ‘being neighborly’ and some now say ‘pay it forward.’ I remember many winter storms while I was still living at home that one of us in the family would clear the snow all the way to the corner where an older woman lived by herself and down to the next house where grandparents of a classmate lived (if no one else had). We’d get a wave and, if not too cold outside, the door would open and you could hear ‘thank you.’ It’s what you did.

Acts of volunteerism can be small, like helping a neighbor with yard work, to large projects like organizing a fundraiser for a person or group in need, or ongoing like a commitment to Big Brothers Big Sisters or mentoring programs in your school. Many youth-serving organizations include service in their activities. Between my parents and the activities I was involved in growing up, volunteering has become something I just do…

Even young children can help! It may take some pre-planning to have age and ability-appropriate activities designed into the larger project. When these activities are part of our normal lives, we’re building strong core values in the children in our care and together everyone is demonstrating these core values in action. Check out this info from Points of Light on kid-friendly service projects.

Check to see if there is a volunteer center in the town you live in or a nearby larger community. These organizations have lists of needs and activities that can be done.

Also see 40 Ways Kids Can Volunteer…

Musings from Murgatroyd by Linette Bernard
Murgatroyd is a family surname from England and has absolutely nothing to do with early childhood. The saying ‘heavens to Murgatroyd’ was one I remember my father saying, as well as ‘musings from Murgatroyd’ often were at the top of handwritten letters to me during and after college. From time to time more musings just may bubble to the surface to be shared.