Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Give a Day Get a Disney Day

Earlier this year, my son's class had a woman from United Way speak about service. She asked if they had ever volunteered and my son told me he said "no." That seemed surprising to me, since I feel like we volunteer all the time, but that made me realize that it's really me volunteering - timing at swim meets, teaching Sunday school, scoring at baseball games, organizing the school spelling bee. They are the recipients of many of these efforts, but not the actual volunteers. Sure, they've carted food to the Food Bank or donated money/books/supplies through various community drives, but I can't name any real work they've done.

I would like to change that this year. My children know the causes that are important to me, and I want to expose them to more of this in a hands-on way, but I would like them to also develop their own interests and passions.

If you're interested in getting your kids to volunteer, there's also an added incentive this year. Give a Day Get a Disney Day is offering a free day at any Disney park for each person (minimum age 6) who gives a day of service to their community through the HandsOn Network, a group which will link you to local opportunities. There are restrictions and limits, so make sure you read all the rules.

So far, I haven't found a specific opportunity that works for us, but they do have extensive listings of organizations that can be contacted - everything from our local zoo to EarthCorps. The website allows you to sort the options by your interest - Animals & Environment, Health & Human Services, etc. Of course, if we do earn our Disney tickets, I imagine that will leave them wanting to go to Disneyworld, won't it?? Maybe my younger son would fare better on the Dumbo ride this time around.


  1. It is interesting when we realize that it's not our kids that volunteer, but who are with us when we volunteer. I too want to make this year one where my boys volunteer for something that they're interesting in - with or without the Disney incentive. I think it's important that they learn early in life how much you gain when you give. Maybe as moms, we can combine our efforts in this goal.

  2. Very interesting perspective regarding kids watching you or other adults volunteer but not doing it themselves. Brings a new perspective into the whole concept. I would have thought that kids have more direct contact with volunteering. Wouldn't all the fund raising events for charities or the school qualify(such as selling cookies or other items or participating in a walk or run and having someone sponsor them)? AMLD

  3. That is an interesting concept from Anonymous. My kids do participate in the school Fund Run while sponsored by us and other family members. It is volunteering to an extent because they are doing something significant to raise money for their school. However, I think we overlook that as volunteering because it's mainly the families sponsoring them. Also, as long as a student sends in a permission slip to participate, they participate whether they brought in money or not.

    For school fund raising these days, kids don't go door to door to sell. It's mainly families that feel obligated to participate that purchase. Sometimes parents ask coworkers to buy the product or support the event, but with so much going on, most don't bother their coworkers either.

    I do think that donating clothing and/or toys is another way of volunteering that we overlook. As the kids get older, we make sure that they participate in the donating and making the decisions of what goes where.

    I think this is an interesting and important topic that our kids must participate in in all ways so that they understand what volunteering is about. It's not about what they get, but what they give. Good topic, Erika.

  4. I guess for me to count it as volunteering it needs to be helping more than just themselves or groups they are in. A lot of the fundraisers the kids do are for their teams or schools, etc. They are still very valid and a good way to show kids that they have to work to earn things, but not necessarily helping others. Then again, my kids are still fairly young. Lots of years left...