Although new to many, the concept of Family Volunteering has been winning the hearts of volunteers of all ages for years, especially in the USA!

Points of Light – POL, the world’s largest network of innovative volunteer-mobilizing organizations, which in their turn serve more than 250 cities across 37 countries around the world, is an established organization that creates products and services that help nonprofits and corporations maximize their impact. Not one, but two of the project partners – Pro Vobis and Volunteer Ireland are Affiliates in the POL Global Network! Points of Light was responsible for creating an official day that would celebrate families getting involved. That was the beginning of a beautiful adventure, one that led to countless volunteers being involved, families brought together and united under the same cause, and lots of happy beneficiaries and successful activities!

Family Volunteer Day is held annually the Saturday before Thanksgiving to kick off the holiday season and to signal the start of National Family Week.  And how else can you show your gratitude towards life and what it has to offer, than by giving back and helping those that don’t have the same support system and luck as you do? This year, 21 November 2020, will mark the 30th anniversary of Family Volunteer Day!

No wonder that the concept started to become popular and the demand for these types of volunteering opportunities has grown year after year! Family volunteering has diversity and inclusion as the main ingredients! Volunteers can be parents with their children of different ages, a grandmother or grandfather with their nephews, brothers and sisters, or any other version of family members – aunts, cousins, foster parents, even your future life partner or someone from your extended family!

The possibilities are endless, it just depends on the organizations to carefully prepare volunteering activities that are suitable for specific groups or tasks that can be tackled by the volunteers they choose to involve! 

Another attractive advantage of a family volunteering program is the fact that so many different needs can be addressed with this magic recipe! It can be about building dog toys, writing encouragement notes for certain categories in need, planting a community garden, hosting tours in a museum, refurbishing public parks, cooking for homeless people at a homeless cafeteria, or even educating others on environmental issues!

This long-lasting annual event demonstrates the force families can hold! We have so many traditions that bring us together – Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving – why not have a tradition that’s all about giving and volunteering together, as a family? 

We as partners of the European project Family Volunteering, are more than happy that the practice of family volunteering has an official day and so many years and years of impact! It makes us eager to bring this concept to our own countries and build programs that ignite that spirit of involvement, so we can in time also celebrate yearly this amazing way of engagement and community building! 

Article written by Mădălina Boțu, Pro Vobis

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