There is no denying that traveling as a family is a bonding experience. Slow travel is another way to experience the world, allowing each family member to immerse themselves into a new culture. But volunteering as a family together adds a whole other dimension to that experience, with countless rewards and growth opportunities.
On our travels, my son Miro and I have volunteered with numerous organizations and the experiences have enriched our travels ten-fold. Some of the volunteer experiences we’ve had together include: volunteering at an animal shelter in Belize, a dog and cat hospital in Nicaragua, contributed to a sustainable community in Guatemala and volunteered at an organization for family nutrition, a performance arts school for street children in Nicaragua, and at a children’s library in Ecuador.
If you are considering volunteering as a family, there are so many resources and opportunities for volunteering abroad on the web and countless communities that will welcome you with open arms. However, in this post, I wanted to share with you some of the benefits you can expect to experience as a result of your volunteering experience.
Volunteering as a family…
- Creates a hands-on way to teach and practice compassion, tolerance, flexibility, cross-cultural understanding and global responsibility to every family member.
- Provides an opportunity to step outside of the pressures produced by mass media messages promoting self-absorption and materialism.
- Allows each member of the family to experience a world outside their own, and learn about a different culture through the people they are serving.
- Empowers children to believe they can make a difference in the world by “giving” and “doing.”
- Provides all family members insights into what they are capable of achieving and increases self-esteem.
- Expands children’s understanding of social issues in the surrounding world.
- Teaches new life skills.
- Provides families with meaningful time together to express common values.
- Creates family bonds through sharing the challenges associated with their volunteering post.
- Produces shared memories that last a lifetime.
Does your family volunteer together or have plans to do so? What do you guys do?