|Teaching volunteerism is important
By CANDY REAGAN /
Abilene Families Editor
Teaching children the value of volunteerism to a community is an important part of their education, and getting them involved in service projects as early as possible is one way to do that.
Mary Cooksey of the United Way of Abilene said teaching community service is critical.
“It’s huge,” she said. “It’s what this country was built on. If we don’t teach our children how that service mode makes our country greater – if they aren’t taught, they don’t know.”
She said families are so busy these days with extracurricular activities, school, church and all the other activities that they don’t always have time to teach this lesson. But she said families need to plan community service into their schedules.
“I would encourage families to think about a bigger picture – make strategic choices,” she said. “You can get stretched too thin that you are not good at anything. But there are benefits for the community as well as for the family. There are so many benefits that come from that family experience.”
The benefits of volunteerism for children are many.
According to the national United Way website, volunteering can:
• Help families learn about social issues.
• Provide positive role models and pass on family values to children.
• Provide new learning experiences and help develop new skills for both children and adults.
• Provide quality time for the family to spend together.
• Increase interpersonal communication and the problem-solving abilities of family members.
• Help students explore their interests and learn about possible careers.
Cooksey said seeing their children become valuable volunteers is also very satisfying for a parent.
“There is an affirmation that parents get – that ‘Gee, I have been raising children who know how to operate in a bigger arena’,” she said.
Also, many colleges look at community service efforts on entrance applications.