Monday, September 5, 2011

V is for Volunteering - ABCs of Homeschooling

On 5 Kids and a Dog, there's a series called the ABCs of Homeschooling.  This week's letter is "V."

Alphabet ATC or ACEO Available - Needlefelted Letter V ...is for Volunteering.

An important part of homeschooling during the past year has been volunteering.  Sophia, Olivia, and I have been doing a self-directed challenge: 52 Weeks of Giving.

Each week, we try to do something that focuses on giving of our time or resources. Sometimes we are able to volunteer from home, other times we need to bring items that we are donating to a location to drop off, and other times we share our time with people and/or causes who need it.

The girls have been involved with projects on a global level - like donating clothing and school supplies to children who live in a remote village in Africa who are struggling to survive. Clothing and a basic education - two things that we take for granted - are luxuries to these children.

We found out about this village through a family friend who was married last December to a man who grew up in the village, but was able to leave and further his education. He and his wife are now living in Washington D.C. and have made a commitment to collect items to ship back to the village where he was raised.

Packaging Clothes for African Children
Folding clothes to ship to Africa.

The girls also have worked locally to help others in need of free or inexpensive clothing. One of the programs that has filled a critical need in the community is the Sharing Shop which is based out of a church about a half hour from our home.

The Sharing Shop has quarterly clothing events where anyone from the community can come to the church and pick out as many clothes as s/he needs. The first bag for each person is free, and each one thereafter is $1. If you volunteer, you may choose clothes for free in exchange for your time.
Olivia Folding Clothes
Olivia folding clothes for the Sharing Shop.

One of the projects we did this past year was cut paper to line cages for orphaned and injured wildlife. This was a simple project to do and only cost us our time. It was also a great way to reuse newspaper and put it to good use once we were done reading it.
Volunteer - Cut Paper for Animal Cages
Sophia cutting paper for cages for
injured and orphaned wildlife.

The girls also colored some pictures and sent them to an organization that distributes them to senior citizens receiving Meals on Wheels, who live in nursing homes, or who live at home and may need some cheering up.

Olivia Coloring for Color a Smile
Olivia coloring pictures for seniors.

Within the first few months of doing the 52 Weeks of Giving program, the girls were thinking of additional ways that they could give back and make a difference. They were caring for a neighbor's dog. Although they paid the girls, they decided to go above and beyond what the neighbors expected and for which they paid.

The girls spent extra time and made additional visits each day to the dog to ensure he was well cared for while the neighbors were gone.

Girls with Caesar
The girls pet sitting for a neighbor.

One of the easy and enjoyable ways the girls like to volunteer and donate is through food. They either donate food to the food shelves on a regular basis; or help make food that can be served to those recovering from surgery or who have a medical issue that interferes with their ability to make food for themselves and/or others.
Girls with Food for Food Shelf
The girls donating food to a food shelf.

Taking Food to a Friend Recovering from Surgery
Ready to bring food to a friend who just had surgery.

The girls also enjoy assembling kits or packages for those who are struggling in other parts of the world.
Sophia with Hygiene Kit
Hygiene Kit for someone in need.

Even though they help others throughout the world, they always remember those who live close to home who may be struggling. The girls were happy to put together a variety of items for men, whomen, and children who were homeless during the winter.

Cereal to Donate
Packaging donations for people who are homeless.

The girls have volunteered their time and shared their interest/abilities in music with others. During the past year, Sophia played in two recitals - one was at a nursing home at Christmas where she played two songs. 
Sophia's First Piano Recital
Sophia playing the piano at a concert at a nursing home.

Both the girls have performed at least once a month during the school year through the church choir. They have sang in church as well as at a nursing home.

Choir Singing for Valentine's Day
Sophia and Olivia singing in the church choir.

Volunteering will continue to be a weekly focus during the rest of 2011. Starting in 2012, we plan to focus our efforts on organizations to which we feel the most drawn to, and to which we want to donate our time and resources.

3 comments:

Crafty Cristy said...

I love this "V". I am hoping to incorporate more volunteering into our homeschool this year. Our new cover group is much more active in the community than the last one was, and there are a whole list of service activities for us to participate in.

Naomi said...

Great "V"! I would love to get my kids involved in a volunteer program locally.

Dawn @ 5 Kids and a Dog said...

It's so great that you have your girls involved in giving and ministry already. Our boys have helped serve dinner at the mission and I think it really helps give them eternal perspective when it comes to others!