Saturday, November 19, is Family Volunteer Day, a national day of service powered by generationOn, the youth division of Points of Light, and sponsored by the Walt Disney Company. Family Volunteer Day events will take place throughout the United States to help families spend quality time together while teaching youth real-life lessons about compassion and caring, and working together to support their neighbors and neighborhoods. Every year, thousands of families participate; usually to benefit their communities.
It is no coincidence that this event is held on the Saturday before Thanksgiving since volunteering is a good way to give back and give less fortunate people something to be thankful for. From checking on the elderly to penning a letter of thanks to a solider or even looking after animals in a shelter, there are many ways to partake in the events. Moreover, four lucky families will win a $500 gift card and five families will win a DisneyFamily-Fun pack!. Any family involved with the events is encouraged to share their story on www.generationOn.org/FVD to qualify for amazing prizes.
Family Volunteer Day was initially created by Points of Light in 1990 as a means of bringing together community organizations, companies and volunteer centers with the ultimate goal of getting children to join with adults—be they parents, grandparents, siblings or neighbors—to make a difference in their communities.
“We currently have 100 grantees hosting projects around the country and it’s incredible how much of an impact they have,” said Sarah Fanslau, senior director, Clubs, Campaigns & Days of Service, generationOn. “Volunteering helps to develop caring, compassionate and capable kids and teens, and volunteering together as a family unit helps increase family-bonds and build memories.”
The projects taking place aim to solve a variety of issues faced by communities around the country. For instance, Volunteer Houston in Houston, TX will be stuffing backpacks with books and educational toys as a part of our annual A Visit from Saint Nicholas program. Camions of Care in Seattle, Washington, will be hosting thirty-one collection drives around the country to collect feminine hygiene products for care packages for homeless women around the world. In Austin, Texas, Ian’s Giving Garden & Frutas Frescas Orchard will install ergonomic garden beds at a local senior center which subsequently promotes intergenerational engagement. Hands-on Broward, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is mobilizing youth leaders to select local schools and non-profits that deserve to receive makeovers that make encompass projects such as landscaping, painting and similar site repairs.
“The most rewarding part of Family Volunteer Day is seeing families come together to start the holiday in the spirit of giving, helping those in need in their community, and teaching kids and teens real-life lessons about the importance of getting involved,” Sarah Fanslau stated. “It doesn’t take a lot of time to make a big difference, and that’s what we see most on Family Volunteer Day.”
Within the coming decade, generationOn hopes to broaden Family Volunteer Day to offer volunteer opportunities in every community around the nation.