Remember all the warm fuzzies you (hopefully) felt at Thanksgiving? Remember how we all (hopefully) take time to be grateful for the wonderful things in our lives? We’d hate for that spirit of gratitude to die after just one day! We can harness that energy into doing good for those who have less than us, right?

 That’s why we suggest you use Black Friday (or any day this holiday season) to do a family volunteer project. But where do you even get started? We love the website It lists family-friendly activities in several major cities (and suggestions for those who don’t live in those cities).

 You can also think of projects by thinking about what your family’s interests are. Volunteer opportunities can fall into any number of categories, including:

 Caring for the environment

Serving the hungry

Comforting the elderly

Caring for animals

Helping the homeless

 … and many more. Think about what your family is naturally drawn to, and then try to think of reasonable projects within that category. If you have animal lovers in your house, you can call your local shelter and ask what volunteer opportunities they have for children. If you have nature lovers, you can find a park clean up event. If your kids have a great connection with a grandparent, you can see if they want to help other grandparents by making cards or blankets for a local nursing home. If your child often wonders about the man asking for money on the street, you can show her how people have set up kitchens where those without a home can receive a free warm meal. Of course, you are the best judge of what projects are age appropriate for your children.

 Getting kids involved from a young age is a great start on the path to raising kind and caring adults. So for this holiday season, we hope you’ll take a few minutes to extend that Thanksgiving gratitude into helping others.

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