Being Of Service to Others

As my children get older, I’ve noticed a shift in conversations, as one does while rearing children. Recently my oldest son (12) had an opportunity present itself at his school to join an organization that promotes not only academic achievement but the ideals of character, leadership, and service. After my initial schpiel to him on its importance, I found myself honing in on how service to others is such an important part of our lives not only now, but all year long.

I keep returning to how being “of service” to others means doing something for someone else without expecting anything in return. I believe my exact words were, “You’ll be of service to someone/an organization and won’t get anything in return other than the warm, fuzzy feeling in your heart knowing you helped others.” This was something of utmost importance for me to convey to my tween because as much as I’d love to say he is an unselfish, humble, and alway-serving kid…the truth is, he’s not.

He’s at an age and lives in a time where most things are about “me, me, me” and easily forgets there is a greater purpose than just focusing on himself. I took this opportunity as a gentle nudge toward redirecting his views on being of service and just all around being kind. 

Being of Service to OthersI’ve always been able to find small ways to incorporate my kids (especially during the last few months of the year) in spreading kindness to others in small acts we can each do but more importantly, especially now, helping them understand WHY we do these things. I’m challenging myself to be more intentional with my actions and finding things we can all do as a family to help us see how serving others and being kind can really make a difference in the life of another person or many people.  

FREE Ways to Be of Service and Spread Kindness

  • Help your local food pantry sort, organize, and shelve items
  • Set up one or two days a month to read, play card games, and/or talk with residence at a local assisted/senior living facility
  • Donate warm clothes directly to a homeless shelter or community outreach center
  • Take a walk around your neighborhood and return garbage bins after trash day
  • Assist with re-shelving books at your local library
  • Take a dog for a walk at your local animal shelter

*Most of these can be things done with children at least three years old and older. I have personally done four of the six. You’ll want to talk with a representative of a food pantry, assisted living facility, library, or animal shelter before showing up and being of service to them! 

INEXPENSIVE Ways to Be of Service and Spread Kindness

  • Make bagged lunches and/or toiletry kits for a homeless shelter
  • Make a homemade blanket for someone in need
  • Put together care packages for soldiers or missionaries
  • Donate school supplies and/or time to area schools affected by recent storms
  • Host a lemonade or bake sale and donate profits to a local animal shelter

Resources to Help Navigate Service Projects and Volunteering

VolunteerMatch has a wide range of volunteer opportunities for adults and kids and teens

JustServe helps you find places to serve in your area but research closely to see if some places allow children to help serve

Wee Volunteer provides age appropriate service projects for preschool and elementary school age children with local Dallas charitable organizations

Feed My Starving Children allows children as young as 5 to volunteer with an adult

Hope’s Door offers volunteer opportunities for kids 12+ with an adult and requires an application, background check and 1-hr training

The Storehouse of Collin County provides food and clothing for those in need. Kids age 13+ with an adult can volunteer as well as adults age 18+ with a background check.

Heritage Farmstead Museum offers opportunities for kids and parents to cleanup the grounds and outbuildings of the museum

As we approach the busiest time of the year, I strive to be intentional with the way my time is being spent and try to remember the little eyes watching me every step of the way. I’d love to find other local areas where kids and adults can serve. If you know of another please comment below and I’ll add it to this list.

Do small things with great love. ~Mother Teresa

Vanessa Sias
Hi, I'm Vanessa. Wife to Jose and mommy to three loving, rambunctious boys ages 12, 7 and 3. They keep us busy in the best possible way. I was born an raised in Dallas, Texas and am a hard-core Dallas Cowboys fan. My husband and I moved to Allen in 2006 after finding our 'just right' home. I taught kindergarten for seven years (in Garland and McKinney) and after having our third son decided to become a stay-at-home mom. Aside from the three boys occupying my time, I'm also a branding and small business photographer as well as a VIPKID teacher for students in China.