She was in the hospital one year on both Christmas and New Year’s Day when her two children were young.
Those holidays were somber, with a lightly decorated hospital room taking the place of a home adorned with an ornament-filled tree, stockings and Christmas music softly emanating from stereo speakers.
After she got out of the hospital, she and her husband vowed to make other patients’ lives a little easier during the holidays by volunteering at a hospital in the Albany area. So a few years later, the couple visited hospital patients at St. Mary’s Hospital in Troy, then teamed with their two children to serve homemade cookies and brownies to families in the waiting room at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady.
“After being depressed and wondering whether I would ever make it out of the hospital myself, I decided I wanted to do what I could to make other patients’ lives a little brighter during the holidays,” she said. “Just seeing smiles on their faces and the hope in their eyes made it all worthwhile.”
According to Parents Magazine, volunteering teaches even toddlers and preschoolers about compassion, empathy, tolerance, gratitude and community service. And children who volunteer are more likely to do so as adults.
When volunteering, decide whether your family is interested in a one-time project or a longer-term commitment, such as putting in time at an animal shelter once a month. Then make sure to contact the chosen organization to ask what approvals you need and how you can help.
According to Parents Magazine, once you've picked a project, tell your children what to expect and why it’s important. Lastly, be enthusiastic and have fun!
With some inspiration from the magazine, here are some volunteer paths you and your kids could take:
TSL Team Contributions
This blog is for parents and educators to learn more about our organization. It's also the space where we share information of interest to parents.