This is a sponsored post on behalf of Comcast, but all thoughts and opinions remain ours. We’re just telling about our amazing experience volunteering for the day as part of the annual Comcast Cares Day. I think we all want the same things for our children:
- For them to be kind and considerate, always thinking of others
- For them to give back when they can, volunteering their time, their resources, and their skills
- For them to become happy, well-adjusted adults who enjoy the ups and weather the downs of life
- For them to get a 100% full scholarship to college that gets them a nice job which allows them to take the best care of us well into old age
… Okay, maybe not that last one, but that would be a *really* nice bonus.
As I think about what the next few years hold as we move from sweet and optimistic tween into full-on teen mode, I know I want my daughter to keep her idealism and her love of helping others. There’s a shift that takes place after adolescence where children naturally become more self-centered and withdrawn, and I’ve been doing all sorts of reading on why that is and ways to prevent it. One way that has been suggested is to empower your teen to not blindly accept the status quo.
We’ve been talking about ways to give her the tools she needs to believe in her ability to affect change, and know that together we really can make a huge difference in our neighborhood, in our community, and in the world at large. One of those ways is by volunteering with your tween and teen – Often.Growing up, I watched my grandma volunteer hours a week at the food bank she founded in her small town. Then, a few years ago, as a family we got to be there when the mayor of the town named a day after her to thank her for over 50 years of selfless service to the town. Seeing the huge crowd that turned out was amazing and I was so touched as I heard how many lives she had changed in her decades of volunteer work. I am proud of my grandma for her self-less giving and how she had changed her community for the better, and I’m committed to making that difference in my own town and community with my own kids.
Sure, we volunteer through school, through student groups, and through Scouts, and my kids see me volunteer 2+ days a week for our co-op, food bank, and school, but I wanted to start volunteering *with* my kids, and specifically with my tween. Giving our time to our community together is an important part of instilling the idea that volunteering is a family value, and I’ve been looking for ways that we can do this together safely and in a way that allows her to fully participate and see her mark being made within the community.
Make Change Happen
In an effort to include my tween, I wanted to find places to volunteer that were close to her heart and would help her feel like she accomplished something big at the end of each day volunteering. But, honestly I didn’t really know where to start searching beyond our normal volunteer spots. So, when I was introduced to the website Comcast In The Community, I was so excited. You don’t have to be affiliated with Comcast in any way to use it, it’s simply a great resource for people like me who are looking to give back to the causes and services that effect the neighborhoods where we live, work, and play.
Using the site is simple, you just search near your home, work, or school by way of zip code and then you can filter your list by the causes that are near and dear to you. It’s a great way to see a snapshot of what is going on in the community and to lend a hand wherever you can, and it’s a great way to get the kids involved. I love checking the site each week and seeing the newest events being added so we can plan our volunteering schedule and sign up right through the site. Seriously, volunteering has never been easier!
18th Annual Comcast Cares Day
On May 4, we volunteered with more than 3,000 volunteers to make change happen at part of the 18th annual Comcast Cares Day. Each year Comcast NBCUniversal employees and their families, friends and community partners get together around the world through Comcast Cares Day to make a difference in their communities. From boxing donated food to mentoring kids about technology and everything in between, Comcast NBCUniversal shows that giving back to the communities they serve is a core value of the company’s culture. Roughly 100,000 volunteers join Comcast Cares Day each year to improve more than 1,000 project sites, and what they accomplish together is seriously amazing.
More than half of this year’s projects in Washington state directly support those living without shelter or who are in transitional housing, which is a cause that means a lot to me with our growing homeless population in the Seattle area. During Comcast Cares Day, volunteers repaired fencing and revitalized outdoor landscaping around temporary homes in Everett; served meals to supportive housing residents and beautify community areas in Seattle; handed out hygiene kits in Sumner; cleaned, gardened and painted shelters in Spokane and participated in various other projects across the state. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 30 out of every 10,000 people experienced homelessness in Washington state in 2018, and of those, 22,304 — 35 percent — were chronically homeless, with 60 percent staying in unsheltered locations such as in a tent or on the street, so focusing on the homeless problem is a big part of why I wanted to participate.
There were more than 35 Comcast Cares Day projects in Washington and a bunch of them were within 30 minutes of us, so I let my kiddo pick where we would spend the day. Since their class at school is focusing on sustainability and reusing our resources, she chose a project through United Way of Snohomish County that was just north of Seattle in Everett, WA volunteering at a Family Wellness Fair. With activities throughout the day such as making reusable grocery bags, serving meals, conducting family workshops, running informational booths on community services, and offering free face painting and art activities, it basically had her name all over it.We showed up early the day of and found out our assignment for the day was in the art room, which is a perfect fit for both my daughter and me. Since it was still early and the art room wasn’t open yet, we convinced some friends to come join us and volunteer as well and then we all spent the morning serving coffee, helping the musician set up, and guiding other volunteers to their posts. By the time the art room officially opened, we were a few projects in and our tweens were already saying how much fun they were having.
It was really cool to see how the tweens loved helping run things, and we tried to give them as many jobs as possible that allowed them to problem solve and think creatively. They thrived when they were finding jobs on their own, whether that was to advertise the art room better, direct crowds in from the gyms, or just interact with those visiting the fair and learn about the different types of families and what services they were needing so they could best help them find resources. Seeing the tweens gain confidence throughout the day was really cool, and it reminded me again how important this type of giving back really is – for volunteers, and for the community as a whole.
As much fun as we had celebrating the 18th Annual Comcast Cares Day, this isn’t just about one day of giving back. Helping at the event was just the first part of my daughter’s journey into volunteering, and I love that it gave us the tools to find more projects that are near and dear to us throughout the year through the Comcast In The Community site. Of course, we will definitely be participating in the 19th Annual Comcast Cares Day next year, where we are sure to run into friends we made this year and meet new friends. Seeing all the employees and their families embrace each other and catch up during the event was really cool – it clearly is like a reunion of sorts for all the volunteers who have been participating for years. We found that they all were eager to talk about their favorite Comcast Cares experiences, so serving up coffee and conversation was one of our highlights of the experience for us.Now that my daughter and I both been bitten by the volunteering bug, we’re going to make it a monthly thing to find a service project through Comcast. To date, more than 1 million Comcast Cares volunteers have contributed over 6 million service hours to improve local communities through more than 10,000 projects, and we’re happy to be part of that number.
For more information on Comcast NBCUniversal and Sky volunteer and community impact initiatives, visit www.comcast.com/community.