In search of a one-stop shop

This post on Begging for Change is more of a request for help than anything profound to say. Egger makes a compelling case in several points throughout the book that, rather than just bringing people into the nonprofit sector (as employees) we need to ensure that we’re producing leaders in every part of our society who are committed to the values of social justice and progressive social change, and who live those values wherever they are and whatever they do for a living. Likewise, he cites evidence and anecdotes of how people who make their service fit into their lives, rather than expecting that it will stand alone, are better servants of the common good and more joyful in their service.

And I believe both of those things, not just as a social worker and volunteer and activist, but as a mom. I don’t care if my kids grow up to be social workers or not. But it matters very, very much to me that they grow up with a keen understanding of social justice, a passion for creating a better world, and a plan for how to live that commitment every day. And, in my own life today, while I find time to serve the causes most important to me, I’m limited in my off-duty time as a mommy.

That’s why I’m always looking for volunteer opportunities I can do with my kids (okay, just my almost four-year-old; the twins are still too young to be helpful; as their brother says, “they still don’t understand”). Now, I know that a preschooler is no organization’s ideal volunteer. I get that. But, come on, I’m trying to both build on his innate sense of fairness and compassion AND carve out more time that I can spend serving your organization; can anyone help me out?

He’s already collecting money to put water filtration systems in villages in Chiapas, Mexico (he takes that job very seriously, so be ready to part with your coins if you come within shouting distance!). And he ‘volunteers’ to help our elderly neighbors (with Daddy) and to visit some people from our church.

But I’m looking for an organization where we can volunteer together, ideally with some actual contact with the people the organization serves. I want to make this connection, and help him through his questions about the process of helping. I’m trying to plant seeds, here, people, and my sector isn’t helping me out too much.

Please leave comments with suggestions, especially those of you in the Kansas City metropolitan area (but even beyond; I want ideas so that I can advocate with organizations locally to build some opportunities!).

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