year 2, week 3: this week i'm gonna... do good together.
Jenny Friedman was grateful. She had two healthy children - ages six months and three years - and her family was happy. She decided she wanted to give back and started volunteering in her community, but she didn't enjoy having to sacrifice time with her family.
Jenny spoke with the volunteer coordinator at her local Meals On Wheels about bringing her children along for deliveries. The coordinator thought it was a great idea! Jenny then recruited her friend, Linda, and her three-year old son to do deliveries together.
Jenny and Linda were in for a surprise -- the people they delivered to weren't particularly interested in seeing Jenny or Linda (or even the food!), but they were excited about seeing the children. Their faces would light up when the children walked up to the door to hand them their meal. Jenny states, "I realized we could do a much better job of serving just by having our kids with us."
The Meals on Wheels recipients weren't the only ones who benefited. "Our kids got so much out of it, too," Jenny explained. "They thrived on all the kindness and attention these people gave to them."
Jenny, a writer and researcher on issues of child development and parenting, began to dig deeper. "I thought family volunteering was such a great idea that I wanted to find out more and write about what a valuable experience this is for kids, for families, and for communities. I think people are concerned about the messages that their children are getting, and they want to find ways to encourage the values of compassion, kindness, good citizenship, and caring about their community."
Jenny started Doing Good Together based on the belief that when parents engage with their children in community service, they pass along the spirit of giving and goodness to their sons and daughters, strengthen their families, and create a new generation of volunteers, philanthropists, and kind, caring adults.
Jenny says, "Once we started, we found that there were so many families who were interested in volunteering, too. They just didn't have the time or the resources to find out where they could volunteer as a family. People were so excited when they heard what we were doing."
Doing Good Together is a Minneapolis-based national nonprofit that works to make volunteering and service, along with daily kindness, easy for every family. They provide tools to both families and organizations to help raise compassionate, engaged children. Their innovative activities, resources, and support help make empathy and "giving back" a natural part of life's early lessons.
Doing Good Together offers:
- Free monthly e-newsletter with project ideas, book suggestions, and pointers for discussing social issues with children
- Free monthly listing of family volunteer opportunities in Baltimore, Boston, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York City, Seattle, and Silicon Valley
- The Big-Hearted Families Program - a toolbox of service project ideas, resources, and strategies for weaving kindness into a family’s daily life
- A kindness curriculum (for kids ages 4-10), which gives educators meaningful lessons on big-hearted topics like hunger, through the use of stories, service projects, and important discussions
- Engaging workshops for parents; faith, business, or civic groups; educators; and volunteer managers
- Family Service Fairs - fun volunteer events with simple, hands-on service projects that benefit nonprofit organizations
- Customized materials for organizations wanting to strengthen, expand, or launch their family service initiatives
You can learn more about Doing Good Together in the video below.
Doing Good Together's Big-Hearted Families program is a groundbreaking initiative that provides projects, printables, and research-based wisdom to inspire families to weave compassion into their regular routines.
Volunteering together as a family has a huge impact. "Each time we come together as a family to practice kindness or serve others, we have an opportunity to teach our children that every human being has worth, that we are stewards of this planet, and that the world is a better place when we care for others and they care for us," Jenny states.
Joy Scheil explains how the Big-Hearted Families program influenced her daughter, Mercedes: "From an exhaustive list of birthday party options, we are so proud that our daughter chose to celebrate by packing food with friends at Feed My Starving Children. What was even greater was hearing all of the kids and parents say how much fun they had. It's so nice to see these kids rocking the hairnets and enjoying helping others."
Another participant states, "We find [the program] invaluable. We have been working to teach our children how to give back, how to demonstrate kindness and empathy, how to be helpers, and how to generally face the world with compassion. Doing Good Together has given us the necessary tools, ideas, and support to make this a part of our life."
Notes for this week:
- January 18th is Martin Luther King Day of Service - check out Doing Good Together's family volunteering page or pick a project page for opportunities to help in your community.
- Our collective givetwig donation will sponsor additional free resources to encourage families to practice kindness and serve others together.
- For more information regarding Doing Good Together, please check out their website. You can also follow them on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.
this week i'm gonna donate to Doing Good Together.