The summer months are known to be full of fun and frolic. From beach sand to blockbuster movies, kids and adults alike are ready to relax in this season of the sun. If you’re looking for something more, try volunteering some of your time and energy this summer. Volunteer opportunities exist everywhere, from local nursing homes to global projects. Giving your time and helping others not only helps us feel involved in the world, but it may actually prove to benefit our own bodies and minds. Volunteering isn’t just something for kids, either, there are opportunities for everyone to help others.

 

Local Volunteering

 

Take a look around your neighborhood. Establishments like nursing homes are very welcoming to volunteers, and often have activities set up for people to come in and spend some time with seniors. This is a great opportunity for children, as they can learn about caring for their elders and supporting their local community.

 

Spend a few hours working in a local soup kitchen, where the entire family can join in. Soup kitchens always need assistance with organizing donations, preparing food, and serving those in need. Even if you aren’t able to lend a physical hand in the process, donating food and supplies to your local soup kitchen goes a long way to supporting your community.

 

Look Outside Your Borders

 

There are volunteer opportunities all over the globe. If you or a family member is passionate about a specific project, perhaps a trip abroad may be a good way to get into volunteering. Global Vision International, or GVI, is a family-run company that provides volunteer opportunities and internships across the globe. Their goal is to create a network of people working toward support and education to create a long-term impact on the earth. Some of the projects people can sign up for include scientific field research in South Africa, conservation efforts with elephants in Thailand, or construction projects in Nepal. Some projects are designed for teens, and some are for your whole family to participate in.

 

Structure and Compassion for Growth

 

Volunteering is all about serving your communities, to be a part of the whole and help bring a positive change. It’s a great way to expose your children to real-world problems in a constructive and positive way. It seems that volunteering your time and effort makes positive changes in yourself as well. Studies have shown that volunteering can lead to reduced stress in an individual, which leads to better overall health. Volunteering helps people feel connected and socialize with others, which can prevent loneliness and depression. Studies also show that people over 50 who volunteer regularly tend to have reduced signs of high blood pressure.

 

Whether you want to expose your children to character building and structure opportunities, or you feel the need to socialize with your local community, volunteering is a great way to get your family out there and help. You can add a lot to your summer activities if you spend part of it on a global trip to help women’s empowerment, education or animal conservation. Spend an hour or two every week helping out in your local soup kitchen, or spend a few afternoons talking with the elders in your local nursing home to make a big impact on other lives, as well as your own.