How to Help Your Kids Develop Compassion through Service Projects

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Thanks to my parents and church community, working to make a difference was always important to me. My kids became involved in service projects when they were growing up, too. I like to think that helped them become kind and compassionate people. Today, I’ll share some ideas about what we did as a family along with resources for some family service projects you can participate in this season.

My Family’s Service Project Efforts

When my kids were little, we helped with various food drives. As they grew older, we were very involved in our local skating club. Both Will and Christina saw me volunteer and chair various projects. They naturally accepted volunteering as part of their life, too. Volunteering (even chairing a project) became such a part of their lives that they were each given the club’s Volunteer of the Year award. I truly believe the positive character traits they gained were much more important than any skating medals they ever received.

Sponsor a Child with Compassion

Another activity that has been an important part of our family is sponsoring children through Compassion International. Because conditions for girls are so poor in many parts of the world, we chose to sponsor two 5-year-old girls (now 14), starting when our kids were younger. Later on, we sponsored another 5-year-old girl (who’s now 9). I tell a bit about our experiences with Compassion International in this post: Let’s Brighten the World for Girls.

As adults, Will and Christina participated in various volunteer projects, too. Christina skated in a breast cancer benefit in Oxford, England. Here’s her post about it (which contains a video of the skating performance): Top 10 Ways to Perform for a Cause. Both kids have done volunteer work as coaches for activities such as Special Olympics Learn to Skate. Will has his own DJ business, Dancing DJ Productions, and has DJ’d for benefit causes.

Christina and Chea at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure at Balboa Park in San Diego

Christina and Chea at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure at Balboa Park in San Diego

Even though Will and Christina (and their spouses) live in San Diego, we’ve all worked together on 100 Acts of Kindness.

Christina and my daughter-in-love, Chea, worked hard for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I did some online promotion for The Fabulous Chitwood Ladies Team, but Christina and Chea did the actual participation in San Diego events for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Here’s Christina’s post about their activities last month: Join Me in Promoting Breast Cancer Awareness.

Resources for Service Projects You Can Do with Your Children

Blog4Cause2012Amy Mascott from Teach Mama, Allison McDonald from No Time for Flash Cards, and Amanda Morgan from Not Just Cute teamed up to organize blog4cause 2012 during November and December. The goal is “in a season of getting, to teach our children about giving.” Here are the resources for blog4cause.

November Family Challenge
True Aim has teamed up with Family Network for a November Giving Challenge to”Give the Gift of Giving to our families”: The Gift of Giving: November Family Challenge.

Moms Fighting Hunger

I have a post with a Go Orange Linky Party at Bits of Positivity. The Go Orange Linky Party has lots of ideas for parents and children working together to fight hunger. I also have a number of posts about No Kid Hungry, one of my causes.

Go Pink for Breast Cancer Support

At Bits of Positivity, I have a post with a Go Pink Blog Hop with ideas for adults and children working together for breast cancer support.

Share a Smile

At Bits of Positivity, I have posts about Spontaneous Smiley and fun projects to raise money for Operation Smile.

I have a Make a Difference page at Bits of Positivity with links to resources and blog posts.

Pragmatic Mom has a list of Charities for Kids to Support.

We Are THAT Family has 100+ Ways for Your Family to Make a Difference.

Kindergarten & Preschool for Parents & Teachers has ARK – Acts of Random Kindness for Kids & Adults with Free Printables.

Our Family for His Glory has The Best Family Service Projects.

Champions for Kids has Simple Service Projects.

Having Fun at Home has Community Service Projects from Home.

UPDATE: See my post on “Simple Ways to Make a Difference in the World” to learn about some amazing “bloggers who inspire the world to help others.”

Make a Difference Pinterest Board

I have a Make a Difference Pinterest Board that will be added to throughout the year.

I’d love to hear about your family service projects! 🙂


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaThis post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting with the theme of Family Service Projects. This month our participants have written about what service means in their families.Visit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants.

  • Acts of Service: The Great Neighborhood Clean Up — Sarah at Firmly Planted shares how her daughter’s irritation with litter led to eekly cleanups.
  • Running for Charity — Find out how Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction uses her love of running and a great new app to help feed the hungry.
  • 50 Family Friendly Community Service Project Ideas — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares a list of 50 family-friendly community service project ideas that are easy to incorporate to your daily, weekly, monthly, or seasonal rhythmn.
  • Volunteering with a Child — Volunteer work does not need to be put on hold while we raise our children. Jenn of Monkey Butt Junction discusses some creative options for volunteering with a child at Natural Parents Network.
  • Family Service Project: Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina — Erika at Cinco de Mommy volunteers with her children at the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, where 29% of the recipients are children.
  • Family Service Learning: Advent Calendar — Lyndsay at ourfeminist{play}school offers her family’s approach to some holiday-related community service by sharing their community focused Advent Calendar. She includes so tips and suggestions for making your own in time for this year’s holidays.
  • How to make street crossing flags as a family service project — Lauren at Hobo Mama offers a tutorial for an easy and relatively kid-friendly project that will engage young pedestrians.
  • Pieces of the Puzzle — Because of an experience Laura from Pug in the Kitchen had as a child, she’s excited to show her children how they can reach out to others and be a blessing.
  • Appalachian Bear Rescue — Erica at ChildOrganics shares how saving pennies, acorns and hickory nuts go a long way in helping rescue orphaned and injured black bears.
  • Volunteering to Burnout and Back — Jorje of Momma Jorje has volunteered to the point of burnout and back again… but how to involve little ones in giving back?
  • How to Help Your Kids Develop Compassion through Service Projects — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares service projects her family has done along with links to lots of resources for service projects you can do with your children.
  • Involving Young Children in Service — Leanna at All Done Monkey, the mother of a toddler, reflects on how to make service a joyful experience for young children.
  • A Letter to My Mama — Dionna at Code Name: Mama has dedicated her life to service, just like her own mama. Today Dionna is thanking her mother for so richly blessing her.
  • 5 Ways to Serve Others When You Have Small Children — It can be tough to volunteer with young children. Jennifer at Our Muddy Boots shares how her family looks for opportunities to serve in every day life.
  • When Giving It Away Is Too Hard for Mommy — Jade at Looking Through Jade Glass But Dimly lets her children choose the charity for the family but struggles when her children’s generosity extends to giving away treasured keepsakes.
  • Community Service Through Everyday Compassion — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children calls us to Community Service Through Everyday Compassion; sometimes it is the small things we can do everyday that make the greater impacts.
  • School Bags and Glad RagsAlt Family are trying to spread a little love this Christmas time by involving the kids in a bit of charity giving.
  • Children in (Volunteering) Service — Luschka at Diary of a First Child reminisces on her own experiences of volunteering as a child, reflects on what she thinks volunteering teaches children and how she hopes voluntary service will impact on her own children.
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Montessori-Inspired Thanksgiving Math Activities and Free Thanksgiving Printables
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