I’ve found that many of the resources in the USA are more about encouraging families to volunteer together, but then offering only general ideas (garden together! build something together) rather than names of organizations that have such opportunities available. If you go to volunteermatch.org and check the box for opportunities that are good for kids (you can use my zip code if you want, 97013), the majority of opportunities *aren’t* one-time family volunteering opportunities (most are, in fact, the “host an international student” over and over and over again – frustrating!).
I took a crack at creating a page to help organizations think about the hows, as well as the *whys*, of creating one-off family volunteering gigs http://www.coyotecommunications.com/volunteer/groups.shtml but I’m not entirely satisfied with it. I’ll be updating it later this month and would welcome your input – what is it YOU need to be able to provide family volunteering activities at your organization (money – and if so, for what? training? support from your executive director?)? Will you ever be able to involve children as young as, say, 10, with their parents, or is that just not ever going to happen – and if so, what is your minimum age requirement? Or is this something that’s just never going to be possible at your organization, because of liability, because it’s more work than it’s really worth, etc.?
Also, it’s worth noting that “Where do I find volunteering activities I can do with my kids?” is an FAQ on the Community Service board – and many queries come from the U.K.
I think Mark’s original post and the subsequent responses bring up a really interesting point about the UK and family volunteering – this is an area I have long been meaning to explore further.
There are some great pockets of examples from the organizations mentioned and probably others which are less well publicized. Thanks to everyone else for the links and further info.
From a VC point of view, we don’t get masses of inquiries here in Warrington, but I do think it’s an area worth thinking about for organizations, not least because of the fast growing home-educators networks which are not really known about but are everywhere. Here you have informal groups of families who regularly get together with their children and are always on the lookout for educational and worthwhile stuff to do. And they are available in term time.
Clearly it needs more thought and planning and these aren’t the only family groups who would be interested in volunteering, but I do think it’s a potential area that organizations could develop. I am in the process of planning something for a local group I am involved in with my son and am would love to hear from organizations who might already involve home educating families?