Sunday, November 22, 2009

Saying “Yes” To Your Community


In Friday’s post, I alluded to something that is very important to us…volunteering.  When my husband began working at a homeless shelter eight years ago, our whole family came face to face with the reality that most of our non-profit organizations would never be successful without an army of faithful volunteers to take on many of the necessary tasks.  Now that my husband is the operations director of that shelter, he can vouch for the fact that there would be far less aid and help given in our community if it weren’t for the tireless efforts of volunteers.

Once we understood this personally, it became one of our family’s personal goals to volunteer on a regular basis.  Over time, we have realized that we each have issues we are passionate about.  My husband, in addition to being passionate about the needs of the homeless, has also volunteered a lot of time toward another issue close to his heart - - helping the mentally ill of the community who often fall through the cracks of the healthcare system.  My particular focus of interest is supporting local agriculture, so I find lots of opportunities to volunteer at farm events and tailgate markets.

Our sons, of course, have very different interests as well. Our oldest son is very technically savvy, and finds opportunities to provide support for non-profits with computer and website issues.  Our younger son is passionate about animals, and seeks out chances to help out at animal shelters, to care for the pets of neighbors who are away on vacation, and to lend a hand at pet-adoption events.

Homeschooling has provided us with multiple opportunities to serve, since we are not confined to a classroom all day.  In fact, I see these volunteer duties as every bit as educational as formal coursework.  Being free to schedule our day, means being able to say “yes” to unique chances for personal growth, life skill training, and empathetic awareness.

Every time someone asks us the question about how our homeschooled kids fare socially, I just start rattling off all the ways they are involved in their community.  It quiets most questions almost immediately!

How about your family?  What ways have you found to volunteer in your community?  Has homeschooling made it easier for you to “give back”?

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