Kathrina MacDonald and her husband wanted their children to be able to look beyond themselves and be grateful for their blessings, and they decided that the way to do that was to get them involved in serving others.
They gave their children an opportunity to earn spending money for an upcoming family trip by participating in different, small service projects.
“The first thing they did was to make Valentine’s cards and take them to an assisted living center,” MacDonald said. “The residents love to see kids so they were so excited, and my kids realized how important it is to look beyond themselves and realize there are people out there who may just need someone to spend some time with them.”
In addition to visiting the assisted living center, the MacDonald family collected food for the food bank.
“People were really responsive,” MacDonald said. “The kids prepared thank you notes in advance to give to those who donated.”
The family also delivered boxes of food from the food bank to individuals and families in the community.
“We really wanted my kids to realize the blessings they have, so we thought let’s serve others,” MacDonald said. “The biggest reward was the feeling they got. The kids were so excited while serving, so we talked about it afterwards and reiterated that feeling and how it made them feel. It’s nice for kids to realize how lucky they are and how it makes them feel to serve.”
In addition to encouraging her children to give service in the community, MacDonald has served for four years in the Parent Teacher Association.
MacDonald said the PTA is one area where she would love to see more parents involved.
“Volunteering in schools is important,” she said. “It can be time consuming, but there are lots of little ways to help that don’t take up much time. I see the joy it brings to the children to have their parents there. They really love to see their parents involved and doing things.”
MacDonald has been in charge of fundraising for the PTA and said that she tries to volunteer in the classrooms and accompany the students on class trips as often as she can.
“I think it is also important to recognize the service everyone does around you, especially our kids,” MacDonald said. “They are always doing little things that may go unnoticed.”
MacDonald said she has found that there are many ways to provide service.
“I think a big part of service is recognizing the chance to just say hi to someone,” she said. “You just never know what that hi or a smile will do for that person.”
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