This week, many Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving by carrying forward generations-old family or faith traditions – or by creating new ones. Old or new, these rituals bring to mind the ideals and experiences that connect us to one another. Here’s a fun story about how a rowdy dog helped one family start serving together and the lives that changed – most of all, theirs.
Ten years ago, a neighborhood dog in Georgetown, Texas, was making such a nuisance of itself – running around on its own and digging up lawns – that the dog’s owner (let’s call him Joe) was eventually fined. As an alternative to paying the fine, Joe was offered the chance to perform community service at a food pantry and meal service program for seniors.
Joe thought the neighborhood kids might enjoy coming along with him, so he invited them. Three children from the Miscoe family took him up on the offer.
Kelsey, Kenton and Alaina Miscoe loved the experience and kept going back. Soon, they started bringing their younger siblings, Isabel and Lyndsey, and a new family tradition was born. All these years later, the five Miscoe children remain active volunteers at the center and the two thrift stores that help support it. Together, they have logged almost 10,000 volunteer hours. By serving together the Miscoes have built a rich family tradition of service and a great collection of stories about making a difference together, which they will pass on to the next generation of Miscoes!
This past Saturday was Family Volunteer Day, a day of service supported by Disney Friends For Change (presenting sponsor), Embassy Suites Hotels (supporting sponsor) and generationOn, Points of Light’s youth service initiative. At service projects across the country, thousands of families served together at food banks, cleaned up parks, took care of shelter dogs – and passed on the tradition of service.
Stories like the Miscoes’ and experiences like this weekend’s Family Volunteer Day provide great examples of the value of youth and family service.
There’s also a lot of research that backs it up:
- Students who participate in community service are 22 percent more likely to graduate from college.
- Students who volunteer just one hour a week are 50 percent less likely to abuse drugs, alcohol or cigarettes.
- And youth who serve develop social and civic responsibility and are more likely to become lifelong volunteers, voters and active citizens.
Click here for five easy ideas to make serving together a part of your family’s celebration this season. And, we'd love to hear about your family's service stories – by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by posting on Twitter or Facebook.