Volunteering with Your Family in Brisbane
Volunteering early in life can have a positive influence on children and how they value their time, skills and service to the community.
Volunteering with your family can build self-esteem, draw you all closer together and foster a sense of community spirit.
Shelley Davis, Volunteer Engagement Coordinator at Volunteering Queensland, says there are many ways that Brisbane families can participate in voluntary activities together.
Volunteering with sporting organisations
“Depending on the age of the children and the location of the family – there are many opportunities for families to volunteer together,” Shelley explains.
“For example, families can volunteer together in a sports club – one member could play, another could be a referee, another could sell raffle tickets and perhaps family members could serve on the committee.
“This type of volunteering can provide roles for different interests and capabilities within the family regardless of interest in the actual ‘sport’.”
Shelley adds that Surf Life Saving is another voluntary opportunity for families that frequent the Gold and Sunshine coasts on weekends.
Volunteering in nature
“Conservation and community gardens can potentially be great activities that families can participate in together,” Shelley says.
“It’s a very social activity, good exercise, assists in supporting a healthy environment and the whole family can learn so much about the ecosystem and growing food close to home.
“Conservation and community gardening activities can be done once off, or regularly, in the city or in the countryside.”
There are also opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors while helping out voluntarily with local council tree planting programs, national parks and wildlife bush regeneration programs and activities such as Clean Up Australia Day.
Volunteering for not-for-profit organisations, institutions and churches
Shelley explains that there are opportunities for children (depending on their age) to be engaging with the elderly in locations such as nursing homes.
“In activities like inter-generational socialisation, the young could be teaching the older skills in new technologies, such as Facebook, or reading to the elderly,” she says.
“Children can be good listeners and some elderly clients can go a long time without visitors; they would love the chance to chat. Parents can support children with this engagement.”
Other voluntary activities that fall within this category could include school and kindergarten activities, fundraising, reading to children, helping out with fetes and festivals, recycling projects, caring for animals or sorting donated books.
The benefits of volunteering with your family in Brisbane
The benefits of volunteering with your family are well documented and include:
• a shared sense of accomplishment and satisfaction • helping families learn about their own community • developing respect and understanding for different people and lifestyles • creating family memories and strengthening family bonds • learning new skills or building on existing skills • building the self-confidence of family members • improving communication among family members • providing an opportunity for families to have lots of fun!
Volunteering situations that are not suitable for families
Shelley suggests that parents only choose roles that their children are mature enough to participate in, and check first that the organisation allows child volunteers.
“A Not for Profit organisation would guide parents on the suitability of engaging children in an activity,” Shelley says.
“There are boundaries around insurance – the insurance to protect volunteers under 18 years of age may be too expensive for some organisations and they may unfortunately have to decline engaging youth and children.
“There is also the issue of Blue Cards and whether the activity fits the criteria for young people engaging in voluntary work.”
How to find opportunities for volunteering with your family in Brisbane
Volunteering Qld offer a free online search tool for finding thousands of volunteering opportunities available all over Queensland.
The volunteer positions are varied and cover the arts, environmental conservation, sports, welfare and emergency services. You can help the homeless, children, animals, the elderly, refugees or people living with disabilities.
The opportunities include one off events, short term projects and long term roles. You are also able to search based on your interests, motivations, availability and location.
If you are aware of someone in your local community that may need some extra assistance, then our guide to Crisis Help for Brisbane Families in Need may provide you with some vital information.