A great school life involves more than just academics, as important as that is; learning social skills is also key to living a great life. Teaching children about the rewards of volunteering, doing something for someone else unselfishly, adds quality to the human beings they are and will become. By volunteering, students also learn that service can be a whole lot of fun, when done from the heart.


Now is a great time to think about volunteering and giving of ourselves freely. The Thanksgiving holiday is upon us, a time when family and dear friends gather to express gratitude for all the good fortune of the past year. It is during this time that many of us will remember those who are less fortunate and in need of the basics of life. It is a perfect time for students to get involved with charities, soup kitchens, and other organizations that provide for those in need.


Gratitude is talked about more and more these days, because as a human race, we are realizing that it is important to recognize the good we are able to enjoy and focus on making sure that everyone can experience some of that good fortune. Giving and volunteering opens our hearts and helps us to see reality in a clearer way. Often we experience an even deeper sense of gratitude for our own lives when we are able to help others. To be able to assist in providing a family with dinner, donations, or toys for Christmas that they otherwise would not have been able to afford makes our own existences feel fuller and richer.


Substantial research has shown that giving of ourselves is good for our health. Those who practice joyful giving are happier and less stressed, and therefore build stronger immune systems. Professor and author Stephen Post documented this data in his book, Why Good Things Happen To Good People.


The act of giving and volunteering also improves your ability to socially connect with those who are not necessarily like you, or come from the same background as you do. It opens the heart and mind to other ways of living and being, and increases your level of compassion towards others.


The rewards of volunteering your time and gifts to others, far outweigh any inconvenience or discomfort you may experience when first beginning to volunteer. As with all good things, the more you do, the more you will desire to do, because you will be able to see the direct results of your time and efforts.


In many philosophies it is believed, that when you give to others, you are only giving to yourself. And the fact that we hear about the joy of giving expressed time and again from those who do it, we can certainly believe this saying to be true. So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, we encourage you and your family to give a little of your time and resources to help make the world a better place. It just might changes someone’s life, maybe your own.