December 2006 – Asset #9
Service To Others
by Kelly Curtis.
‘Tis the season of giving, and although we often focus on the material aspect of it, there are many ways to involve the whole family in an important asset: service to others.
Search Institute has identified “service to others” as one of the 40 Developmental Assets, which means research shows it’s a characteristic of healthy, caring, resilient kids. The more assets youth have, the more likely they’ll resist risky behaviors in the future.
Search defines service to others as: “The child has opportunities to perform simple but meaningful and caring actions for others.”
This past week, my kids and I went shopping for our local food shelf. But there are many ways to serve without spending a cent. Chilihead, at Don’t Try This at Home wrote a perfect example of this — her kids raked their neighbor’s leaves without any adult guidance.
MVParents is a resource for parents looking to develop assets in their families. The Saturday before Thanksgiving was National Family Volunteer Day and in its newsletter, MVParents listed many suggestions for families to get involved with service. Here are a few of the ideas they shared for each age level of children:
For parents with children ages birth to 5:
- Coordinate a food drive and deliver the goods together.
- Treat an elderly friend, relative or neighbor to lunch.
- Make and send cards to hospitalized children or nursing home residents.
For parents with children ages 6-9:
- Provide foster care for a pet through an animal shelter.
- Organize a neighborhood closet-cleaning day. Deliver everything you collect to a shelter.
For parents with children ages 10-15:
- Participate in cleaning up a park.
- Become a mentor family to a young person through a mentoring organization.
- Volunteer at a library to lead a story hour for kids.
For parents with children ages 16-18
- Volunteer with a local organization that helps adults learn to read.
- Organize or participate together in a fundraiser such as a walk or run.
Perhaps we can help each other with our collective experience. This month’s “comment brainstorm” is to share ideas for serving others. This might be a volunteer opportunity in which your family has participated, or something you’ve seen others do. The activity can be little or large.
Thanks for joining us to build assets in your kids! I look forward to seeing you again next month for Positively Speaking.
by Kelly Curtis
Pass the Torch