January 2013: Volunteering and Mentoring
January is National Mentoring Month and January 21st, 2013 was the National MLK Day of Service. The January 2013 Fatherhood Buzz initiative focused on volunteering, especially by encouraging mentoring in your own community.
Encourage Families to Volunteer Together
Research suggests that families who volunteer together forge stronger ties. Also, kids who become involved in community service develop greater self-esteem and are less likely to engage in risky behaviors in their teen years.
By volunteering, kids and teens learn what it means to make and keep a commitment. They learn how to be on time for a job, do their best, and be proud of the results. But they also learn that, ultimately, we're all responsible for the well-being of our communities.
Finding Volunteer Opportunities
There is a wide range of organizations that help identify volunteer opportunities and community service projects that your shop can be involved with, or can connect dads and families to participate.
Here are some places to start:
Find a Mentoring Program
Connecting to a mentoring program in your community is easier that you might think. Online tools from Mentoring.org and Big Brothers Big Sisters (http://www.bbbs.org) can help you find established programs in your area. If you don’t find results in your community, consider asking at your local school about what is available. Whether you’re looking to become a mentor or find a mentoring program for your child, it’s important to do a little research to find the right program for you.
Find out more about Becoming a Mentor.
Starting Your Own Volunteer Project: Federal Resources
There are a lot of resources available for families and community groups interested in spearheading a service project. Here are some Federal resources to help you get started.
- Community Renewal: Starting a Clothing Drive Team
- Community Renewal: Supporting a Local Food Bank
- Education: Starting a Book Distribution Team (Book Drive)
- Create Your Own Project!