All infants and children are egocentric. As parents, it is our responsibility to teach our children both civic and social responsibility in order that they can become civic and socially minded adults. This can be started at a young age by asking them to pick out a toy to be purchased to give to a toy drive, such as ‘Toys for Tots.’ You can also have your children go through their toys routinely and sort out those ‘gently used’ toys to donate to a local church.
As they get a bit older, you can organize and involve your children in a food drive. Northwest Louisiana Food Bank in Shreveport accepts non perishable items for donation. Local churches accept food and clothing donations. Your children can volunteer in your neighborhood as well. Under your direction they can visit elderly neighbors and offer to take out the trash for them or rake their yard.
Children learn mostly by example. The example you set is an important one. Do they see you donating items? Do they see you donating your time to help others? Do you help out at your child’s school? In his “Essays in Humanism”, Albert Einstein wrote: “Man can find meaning in life…only by devoting himself to society” and “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”
You can organize a family activity around keeping your block or neighborhood clean. Once a week you can spend an hour as a family picking up litter and disposing of it. You can contact a local church to see if they know of a family you can ‘adopt.’ Then you can assist that family with whatever goods or services that are needed and you are able to provide.
Pet Savers of Shrevveport, LA is always looking for pet food donations, as well as pet bedding. Although they no longer allow children under 18 to assist with the dogs due to safety reasons, they will provide other opportunities for your children to help out. On September 29, 2011, Miranda Lambert, a pet lover and advocate, will be performing in the Shreveport and Bossier area. Kiss Radio will be broadcasting live from Pet Savers between 3 and 4 PM giving away free ‘meet and greet’ tickets to the show.
The Salvation Army of Shreveport and Bossier operates a ‘Soup Kitchen’ at the Stoner Avenue location and serves three meals a day seven days a week. Neighborhood children and seniors, as well as residents can receive a hot meal! You can contact them to arrange to volunteer for serving.
Older children can contact local nursing homes and find out which residents might need visitors to read to them, play cards, or just talk with them. Studies have shown that both children and seniors benefit from such contact.
Nicodemus Wilderness Project sponsors “The Apprentice Ecologist Initiative,” engages children, teens and college students in environmental conservation projects. You can also involve your children in recycling. In Shreveport, this is as easy as tossing plastic, cans and glass into your blue container!
The Shreveport and Bossier City areas have numerous ways to involve your children in socially responsible activities; you need look no further than your local phone book, and be sure to recycle it when your new one comes out!