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Teach your Kids the Value of Giving to Others

By Elisabeth Cremer and Julie Burton

Raising caring, appreciative, compassionate, and generous children is a daunting task, given the somewhat egocentric world we live in. Parents want to give children the best life possible, and thus kids often become accustomed to getting virtually everything they want, and are not at all satisfied by getting just what they need. To prevent children from developing a serious case of the "gimmies," and to reverse some of the expectations they have established, kids need to see first-hand the struggles of others. But the exposure alone is not enough. It is essential to teach our kids that they (and we) have a responsibility to reach out and help those in need. The best way to teach your kids this important lesson is by example.

Show your kids that they have the power to heal and help others in your community by volunteering as a family. The following is a list of volunteer opportunities that allow you and your family to make a difference in the lives of others.

Minnesota Family Volunteer Opportunities:

Alexandra House
Locations in Blaine and Anoka
Services provided: Provides 24-hour emergency shelter, support services and advocacy to battered women and families.
How to help: One time volunteer opportunities available for religious groups, civic groups, students and families.
Contact: Call 763-780-2332.

United Way of Central Minnesota
Help wanted in areas around Elk River, Zimmerman, Becker, Big Lake and Clear Lake.
How to Help: Provide companionship, and help clients with, housekeeping, transportation, shopping and errands.
Contact: E-mail info@unitedwayhelps.org or call 320-252-022.

2504 Columbus Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55404
Services provided: Kaleidoscope provides a safe place for children in the Phillips Neighborhood of Minneapolis to meet friends and participate in fun activities during the out of school time.
How to help: Create (purchase or prepare) a healthy snack for 65 kids.
Contact: www.kaleidoscope-kids.org or call Katie Knopff at 612-871-9268.

National Sports Center Foundation
National Sports Center in Blaine. 1700 105th Avenue NE
Blaine, MN 55449
Services provided: Hosts the 2007 Schwan's USA Cup Youth Soccer Tournament - July 13-23, 2007.
How to help: Airport greeters and team gift bag assemblers needed, as well activity supervisors and interpreters/guides for the international players.
Contact: www.superrink.com or call Jean Maybrey 763-792-7351.

National MS Society-Minnesota
50 miles through Minneapolis and St Paul.
Services provided: MS Challenge Walk is a 50 mile, three day long walk to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis research. Sept. 7-9, 2007.
How to help: If you are not walking in the event, volunteers are needed to help with registration, water stops, lunches, route markers, etc.
Contact: E-mail wziegenhagen@mssociety.org or call 612-335-7992.

Benedictine Health Center of Minneapolis
618 E. 17th St. Minneapolis, MN 55404
Services provided: Benedictine was founded to help those in need with a variety of medical services.
How to help: Provide moral support to patients through activities, games, reading, music, or art.
Contact: Call Dave Brennan at 612-879-2811.

Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery
5400 Glenwood Ave, Golden Valley, MN 55422
Services provided: Works in partnership with parents in crisis,
and the community to strengthen families and prevent child abuse and neglect.
How to help: Cook for Kids is a volunteer program for all ages where teams of 4-6 volunteers plan the menu, purchase and donate the ingredients for a meal, cook the meals, serve, eat with the children and staff, and clean up.
Contact: E-mail volunteer@crisisnursery.org or call 763-226-2062

Jeremiah Program
1510 Laurel Av, Mpls., MN 55403
Services provided: Assists low-income mothers and their children to help themselves complete their education and achieve economic self-sufficiency.
How to help: Cook for kids: Groups provide and prepare meals for residents, as well as play with the children after the meal
Contact: E-mail ssnelson@jeremiahprogram.org or call 612-259-3011.

The Ronald McDonald House -Charities of the Upper Midwest
621 Oak Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
Services provided: Provides a home-away-from-home for families with children who have life-threatening illnesses.
How to help: Assemble "breakfast bags," tie polar fleece blankets, or knit or sew hats or scarves for the residents. Families can also raise money by collecting pop tabs and dropping them at your local McDonalds's restaurant.
Contact: Call 612-331-5752 or go to www.rmhmpls.com.

People Serving People
614 South 3rd Street Minneapolis, MN 5541
Services provided: Provides a safe shelter and meals to homeless families.
How to help: Serve cafeteria-style meals and do light clean up.
Contact: www.peopleservingpeople.org or call 612-277-0256.

5925 Highway 7, St. Louis Park, MN 55416
Services provided: Assists eligible residents of St. Louis Park meet basic needs of food, housing, transportation, health care and clothing.
How to help: Help organize the food shelf, and pack food bags for delivery.
Contact: Call 952-925-4899 or e-mail info@STEPslp.org.

Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
Mall of America, Bloomington off of 494 and Hwy 77
Services Provided: World's largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives and end breast cancer.
How to help: On Mother's Day (May 13, 2007), you can participate in the Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure or volunteer to help out at the event.
Contact: Email tcraceoffice@yahoo.com or call the Race Volunteer Hotline at 952-746-1760 or visit the web site at www.racecure.org.

Check out VolunteerMatch to find a full list of volunteer opportunities in your area.

You may also be interested in some of the actions listed here, where moms can get involved.

Categories: Family, Get Involved, Things To Do, Twin Cities Picks,

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