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Family Forum: The Value of Community Service

Discussing the value of community service and getting kids involved.

Welcome to the Family Forum; your stop for discussion on all of the hot topics that affect families in our community.

Our discussions will be led by valued community members from our Miller Place-Rocky Point, Three Village and Port Jeff Patch sites. They are:

Miller Place-Rocky Point: , , ,, , , , and .

Three Village: , , , , , , and .

Port Jefferson: , Lisa Dix,  , and

The Family Forum is designed for moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles and caregivers all to share ideas on topics, questions and ideas involving families in our community. Let's get the discussion going with this week's question:

How do you get kids to understand the value of community service and volunteering and in what ways can we get involved in our towns?

All are encouraged to share their thoughts in the comment section below.

Lisa Maldonado April 14, 2011 at 01:00 PM
I think the best way to understand the value of community service is of course to experience it first hand. For very young children that usually means seeing their parents participate. I, for one, do not think the "required" community service that sometimes occurs in schools is very motivating. However, when a child participates at an early age with a parent and not only see's the difference first hand, but also feels the difference, the feeling and desire to help can last a life time. As far as where to go to volunteer, there are great websites like volunteermatch.org, and idealist.org just to name a couple.
Marian Larson April 15, 2011 at 12:36 AM
Parents should be role models for their children. Volunteering to help with the Brookhaven Town yearly clean up? A child as young as 4 yrs old can help with that. Are you helping out at a PTO event where your child could 'assist' you? Delivering Meals on Wheels to the elderly? Bring your child along for the ride! They need to see how important it is to give of oneself, and who better to model that than their parents? I find that once a person starts to get involved in community service, they continue. I have noticed a definite correlation in regards to parents who are involved and whether or not their children get involved. The Comsewogue Public Library has a pamphlet with a list of volunteer ideas for teens. The PTO and places of worship are always looking for volunteers. How about the simple act of raking the leaves for your elderly neighbor, and encouraging your child to help? I find it ironic that the Family Forum question about getting kids involved in community service came out on the very same day that the Miller Place School District budget was adopted. Two things cut from the budget: The MPHS Service Club, where the students do countless charitable activities, and the Varsity Club, where the students are required to give back to the community with service hours. Neither of those clubs had expenses attached to them other than paying the club adviser...no expensive uniforms, no helmets, no busing costs, nothing. Cutting those clubs sends a lousy message.
Melissa Hin April 15, 2011 at 12:22 PM
I think that the best way to encourage active community service in your children is to lead by example. Community service has been part of my life since I was a child, my mother was active in our community. We were always very aware and involved in her volunteer work. When my family moved to Miller Place we sought out ways to become more familiar with our community. Community service via partuicipation in school , town and church activities offered us a fantastic experience in getting to know our local nieghbors while giving our time to worthy causes. For us, community service has always been a win/win situation. We have always involved our children in our activities when age appropriate. From when they were very little to present day, they have assisted us in sorting through household items/toys/clothing to recycle. We encourage them to pick and donate a non-perishable item for the school food drives at Thanksgiving. We have cooked meals at home to be brought to a local soup kitchen and cooked/served on-site for a local mens/boys shelter.
Melissa Hin April 15, 2011 at 12:23 PM
Part II....The boys have assisted the PTO and our church with various social and fundraising events. We have coordinated coat drives and towel/toiletry drives in cooperation with organizations throughout N.Y.. We have 'walked' tro raise funds for a number of well known charities. All the while explaining why we give/serve. The wonderful interactions that they have experience thru thier activities is what fuels future participation. As far as seeking out volunteer opportunities; get involved with your schools PTO, ask at your local church, hit the yellow pages for charitable organizations in your area and then call and find out how you can make a difference. Then share that with your children!
Melissa Hin April 15, 2011 at 12:28 PM
Hi Marian....just wanted to mention that in several reports...the service club remains intact while the varsity club was cut. I am not sure which report is accurate.

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