By Diane Forrest
I come from a long line of volunteers. My family has been involved with many different projects to help others. My grandmother would help with the voting process on Election Day, and would help grade school papers for prisoners. My grandfather would tape the Sunday sermons and make copies to take to shut ins who were not able to attend church. My Father volunteers in any place he can, he does so much he was named the Natchezian of the year. It’s an honor given to those who selflessly give their time and knowledge to help the community. My mother was awarded an Unsung Hero award for all her many contributions as well. They instilled these values in me too. When I was younger I was a candy striper at the local hospital, and as I got older I became a pink lady, at another hospital. I have helped at church and the children's home. It seemed only natural to teach my son these values as well. When he was only 4 or 5 years old, I would spend the day with him making cards, then we would deliver them to the local nursing homes and spend time visiting with the patients. He would go through his toys every year at Christmas, and take some to the children's home to share with them. As he grew older, he took a few mission trips to Bolivia to volunteer his time in helping to build a church, and provide medical assistance. When he was only 15 years old! He became an Eagle Scout at a young age, and one of his projects was to clear the weeds and repair fences at a small local cemetery on the edge of town.
Today is Family Volunteer Day. There is no age too young to begin this worthwhile family activity. The younger you start teaching your children; they will continue this tradition for many years to come, making them better individuals, and continuing the cycle with their families. Some ways you can help volunteer with your family today include:
- Helping the homeless and hungry
- Helping the Elderly
- Helping the disabled
- Helping with children
- Helping with animals
- Helping the environment
With the recent storms of New York and New Jersey, I have been reading several stories about those who are sick or disabled, who have no way to get out, and need help from the power outages. People have carried water up to those living in high storied buildings, and provided food and blankets to those in need. It’s not hard to look around in your area for those in need of help. You can spend the day cleaning a widow's yard, hold a neighborhood parent's night out, you can gather neighbors old newspapers to deliver to the animal shelters to line the cages with, or collect coats for the coming winter months. Sharing sometime today with your family while helping others will not only strengthen your family bonds, but will put a glow in your heart too.