Why you should volunteer with your kids

One way could be to donate your car to Volunteers of America Greater Ohio

"How wonderful that no one need wait a single moment to improve the world."

— Anne Frank

You might've heard volunteering is good for you, but did you know your kids can benefit as well? Yep, and there's some actual science to back that up too.

Three psychologists at the University of British Columbia published a study in PLoS One, an online journal from the Public Library of Science, that found that toddlers — just like their parents — receive benefits from giving. Specifically, the study found toddlers are happier when they give treats to others, particularly if those treats were theirs to begin with, rather than receive treats themselves.

Teaching your children to give back reaffirms core values, yes, but it also provides responsibility, social interaction, learning experiences, and much more. Parenthood.com says those benefits include: broadening a child's experience, helping children develop stakes in the community, teaching useful skills, building self-esteem, and teaching children leadership skills, in addition to being a great way to spend time as a family.

Volunteering can show children just how powerful they are. Your children will see firsthand just how their mere presence can lift the moods of the elderly at a nursing home, for instance, or how excited dogs at the rescue center get to be played with, bathed and petted.

So now that you know why you should volunteer, let's move on to some ideas you might want to consider, like having your kids help get your station wagon ready for an Ohio car donation to the Volunteers of America Greater Ohio.

How to get started with your volunteering goals

The first thing you'll want to consider is whether this will be a one-time project or something ongoing? Do you have the time and desire to commit to a regular schedule of volunteering (every week, once a month, etc.), or do you want to simply choose your opportunities as they come up?

Other factors you'll want to take into consideration: Who should be the beneficiary of your volunteerism? Do you want to work with the elderly, the homeless, pets or some other group? Maybe your kids really love animals, or maybe they'd have more fun playing in the garden and growing food for a food pantry. Whatever you choose, make sure it's something your family will enjoy doing.

Once you decide as a family what to pursue, lay out clear expectations for the experience and do so enthusiastically. Children often mirror their parents' reactions, so it's important that you're excited and pumped for the chance to serve.

Parent.com also offered other tips for families looking to volunteer, including thinking beyond volunteering: "Take your child on a field trip 'to expose them to an important social issue, such as homelessness, animal rescue or saving the environment.'"

If you don't have any ideas in mind, don't worry. There's no shortage of places that would love to have you. Here's a blog that features 40 ways to volunteer with your kids and includes picks appropriate for everyone from a toddler to a teen.

You can also check out VolunteerMatch.org or look locally for opportunities in Central Ohio.

How Ohio car donation works

Ultimately, you could decide on something completely different, like car donation. Donating your car would show your kids that they're also capable of big change. Your children could help wash the car and clean the inside, knowing that when your family donates the family wagon to Volunteers of America Greater Ohio, they're helping fund programs and services that provide hope to struggling individuals, veterans, children and families in the communities we serve.

Ohio car donation is hassle-free with four simple ways to donate — online, by phone, by mail or in person. Call 1-800-862-6030 to schedule a time for pick-up or send/drop off your clear title at our West Broad location in Columbus. We also offer free, same-day towing in all 88 Ohio counties.

You can call 614-253-6100 or email info@voaogo.org for general questions or more ways for you to get involved.

Other ways to give

Chances are, if you can think of something to give, we accept it. At Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio, donations come in all shapes and sizes, giving you plenty of options to help make a difference in someone's life. To read more about these options, head to our Ways to Give page at voago.org/give.