Summer can be a time of rejuvenation, when we take a moment to enjoy long summer evenings and a cup of lemonade or iced tea. It can also be an excellent time to round up the family and offer extra time to other people or organizations. Volunteering is an act of service that should be sought out as an extension of our daily walk with Christ.

Why volunteer? As followers of Christ who are created in God’s image, it is our purpose and mission to share God’s love and be an example of His grace. We have the opportunity to be models of Christ and to be the hands and feet of Him through teaching, loving, and giving acts of service. Acts 20:35 says, “I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

What are the benefits of volunteering? When you instill a giving attitude in your children at a young age, it encourages them to continue volunteering and live selflessly as they get older. In the American culture, it is easy to become wrapped up in our own lives and set of problems. Giving your time as a family displays to children that it is important to set aside time for others.

Where are volunteer opportunities? Families can volunteer their time or donate household items through a variety of venues. Local churches, the city’s chamber of commerce, or volunteer boards, like www.volunteermatch.com, are good sources for finding volunteer opportunities. Even a simple web search with your location and the term “volunteer” will produce many prospects. You can target a specific organization or cause, and look online, ask friends, or search through newspapers and local magazines for ways to give, too. Volunteer opportunities are available for different days of the week, numerous times of day, and varying periods of time, so even a busy family can find a project that fits into their schedule.

How can homeschooling incorporate volunteering? Talk with your children about what they are interested in, and you can tailor volunteering to a homeschool project or assignment. If you are covering an animal unit, look into the animal humane society or a similar organization. If your children like to get outdoors, seek volunteering opportunities where they can plant a garden, mow lawns, or paint a fence. After a volunteering project, have your learners write, draw, photograph, or verbally give a presentation on what they learned and how they can continue helping others.

Volunteering does not have to be an organized session with a specific organization. Seeing a need and acting upon it with a loving and serving heart is all that is necessary to show God’s love and grace to our community and to the world.

Where do you volunteer? How do you incorporate volunteering into homeschooling?