Creating a positive impact on the world is a goal shared by many families. Making a difference doesn’t require a large budget or extreme time commitment. Try one or more of these five simple ideas to engage your family and quickly learn how great it feels to do good.
Respect the Environment
Protect the environment and help your family budget by making it a point to conserve water, turn off lights, and unplug your television, computers, and small appliances when they are not in use. Familiarize yourself with your community’s recycling guidelines and actively recycle items whenever possible. If you notice that your office, gym, daycare, or other place that you visit doesn’t have a recycling program, suggest that they start one. Better yet, offer to help put one in place.
Conserve gas and reduce your carbon footprint by walking, biking, or using public transportation. Trade out your plastic water bottles for reusable glass or BPA-free plastic, and consider switching to environmentally-friendly household products. If you have the space, plant a garden and harvest your own fresh vegetables. If not, skip the grocery store and shop at your local farmer’s market instead.
Celebrate for a Cause
Use your birthday or other celebration to provide guests with an opportunity to support your favorite charity. Contact the organization to find out which items are most needed and request that guests bring a donation in lieu of gifts. There are many online resources to help make this easy including Betterplace.org, Crowdrise, and Echoage.
Get a Haircut
Locks of Love is a non-profit organization that uses real human hair to create custom-fitted prosthetics for children who have suffered from long-term hair loss due to a medical condition. Visit the website to learn more about the steps necessary to make a hair donation.
Declutter and Donate
Gather your family together and spend the weekend cleaning out your closets, garage, and children’s playrooms. Gently-used clothing, shoes, stuffed animals, toys, and games can be donated to a shelter or thrift shop. Contact your local community center regarding donations of sports equipment. If you have used books that are still in good condition, you may be able to donate them to a school library. You could even look into Action Donation Services that can help to facilitate charitable donations of larger items like cars, boats, or RVs.
It only takes a moment to spread kindness and paying it forward is about more than buying somebody’s coffee. Offer to let someone go ahead of you in the check-out line, send a card or thoughtful gift to someone who is having a rough time, or simply take a moment to smile at a stranger. You’re likely to find that your kindness is contagious.
There are countless ways to make a difference and small steps can have a major impact. Once you begin to implement some of these ideas, it’s likely that you will start to notice many more opportunities to spread joy and improve the world on day at a time.