How do we teach our children about taking part in community service? : ThyBlackMan

Thursday, May 24, 2018

How do we teach our children about taking part in community service?

August 17, 2017 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Relationships, Weekly Columns

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( In my line of work, I meet a lot of people. As the Program Coordinator for one of the largest global organization in the United States, I spend most of my time at community and corporate events. So I am always meeting people of diverse backgrounds. One of my jobs is to coordinate volunteers to help with organizing events. We welcome all volunteers: students, stay at home moms and corporate volunteers.

Some time ago, I received a phone call from a mom who wanted her twelve year old daughter to do some volunteer work. And after doing her research, she decided that our organization was a great cause and a great place for her daughter to volunteer. After I got over my initial surprise, and realize her mission of wanting her daughter to volunteer, I was more than ready to help with the lesson she was trying to teach her daughter. So I explain to her because of her daughter’s age, she would have to take part as well. She agreed and said she was in fact, looking for a mother and daughter experience.

Which brings me to my question, how do we teach our children about taking part in community service? More importantly, how early should we as parents start to teach our children about giving back to their community? They say teaching our kids about giving back to their community starts at home and if that’s the truth, then I’ve failed miserably. It’s not because I did not try, but for some reason, the idea never got stuck with my children. Aside from the usual school community internships, I don’t believe my children ever understood how rewarding it is to give back to your community.

Very often when I do community outreach for volunteers, one of the things that I try to communicate is that being involved in community service is not just for the community but also for self-preservation. Self-matter is what I like to say. Meaning, when you do good, you get and feel good. There’s nothing like the feeling of having helped someone who’s last hope was your help. If anything, It put things into perspective. I can tell you from my experience, being involved in my community always surprises me of how quickly I forget about my problems, by just giving my time to someone in need.

But how do we convey that idea and feeling to a young adult who’s occupied with what’s happening on social media, amongst other things. The answer is, I’m not sure, but I do know if you make it worth their while, they will do it. I’m talking about monetary incentive. Because let’s face it, what young person doesn’t like the idea of making money on time off from school. I know I did. And that’s the truth for some. Nevertheless, if you can put aside the monetary incentive for their involvement, you can better focus on the real impact. I can tell you the result is unforgettable. At first they come in with the ‘I can’t be bothered’ attitude, then at the end I hear, “Ms K, this was the best experience ever! Can I do it again next year?” They start thinking about how to apply the experience to their college essay applications and so on.

However, for some, it’s not just about the college essay or something to do to collect a paycheck as part of a summer program. For many, it’s a place where they know they matter. A place where they know their thoughts, opinions and inputs are important. It’s the first real experience of being in the workplace. A hands on experience and training on how to get along with others, being a team player, problem-solving and workplace etiquette. Which are some of the skills young adults lack when entering the workforce for the first time? These are the real impact that matters.

So, when you are ready (if you have not already) to start the conversation with your kid or kids about community service, remember to convey to them that the benefits go both ways.

Staff Writer; Kency Desmangles

One can also connect with this sister via Facebook; K. Desmangles.


One Response to “How do we teach our children about taking part in community service?”
  1. M Anthony says:

    As a marriage, family and relationship counselor, I can say I have had experience with a lot of children and adults.
    You start off by being the example.
    Then you get the children to expect it of themselves, giving whenever possible.
    You instill a sense of connected community by helping them overstand the “hold body fits jointly together” as the Bible says. Thus what they do impacts someone else.
    You teach them they have the power to change their neighborhoods and communities.
    Require them to volunteer every month and for no monetary reward.
    Teach them a sense of accomplishment when they help someone else. Teach them that is their reward.

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