Connecting generations through service

**Our family laid to rest my grandma this past Monday. She loved helping others, which is why her memory lives on every time I get out and volunteer. I am forever grateful for her example of selfless love and kindness.**

I started volunteering at the age of eight.

I don't remember my grandma exactly calling it "volunteering", but that's what it was. She asked me on a Sunday afternoon if I wanted to join her at a nursing home while she lead a small religious service for a group of residents. I'm not sure what my exact response was, but I obviously tagged along. We sang a handful of songs, read an inspirational story or two, and then proceeded to visit with each person there. I remember feeling a little scared, but I knew what we were doing was a good thing and was glad to be there.

As the years went by, I had the privilege of volunteering side-by-side with all four of my grandparents. We served together in almost all categories of charity and I came away from those times being extremely thankful for my grandparents who seemed to always serve with a ready and cheerful heart.

If you're looking for a new way to connect with your grandchildren through service, give these three groups a try:

Animal Rescues :: Working with animals is a great way to heighten the civic interest of almost any younger person. Whether it be walking dogs, socializing with cats, or having a family slumber party with a hedgehog, there's always a fun way make a connection with your family by helping out animals in need.

Museums / Libraries :: Both of these places have special events throughout the months where you can volunteer together. Look for activities that include arts and crafts, holiday themed celebrations, or set up and tear down (then you can have fun at the event too!).

Construction Projects :: Search for a group in your area that specializes in home building or repairs for the elderly, disabled, or challenged. Almost all of those groups have experience in using a wide variety of ages to complete projects. Besides positively dealing with a serious community issue, the skills learned will benefit everyone involved for years to come.

Don't forget that it's best to contact the organization ahead of time to see what their policies are regarding children volunteers and to ask for their advice about children/teenage geared opportunities.

Smile, take lots of pictures, and expect a ton of good memories!

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