One of my biggest passions in life is doing things that make a difference, whether it’s for just one person, one group or a whole community. It’s a desire I think I learned from my parents at an early age, whether they knew it or not. And it’s a lesson that’s important for all kids to learn: We should always make an effort to help others whenever we can.
That’s why, before I left ValleyPBS a few months ago, I helped develop a Valley-wide event called “Be My Neighbor Day.” Pioneered by Fred Rogers Company and hosted by Daniel Tiger from the hit children’s cartoon “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” this event will teach kids what it means to be a neighbor while they volunteer at different community organizations.
On July 11th, children of all ages (along with their families) will have the opportunity to help out with various projects at 15 different local organizations across the Valley, from Fresno to Bakersfield. Then on July 18th, participants will be invited to a special “Thank You Day” party in Fresno or Visalia, where they will get to meet Daniel Tiger himself!
The neat thing about this is there really are projects that even the youngest in your family can help out with. One of the organizations that needs the most volunteers is the Veterans Home of California in Fresno. Simply bringing your kids there for a visit will brighten up the residents’ day. Volunteers will get to do craft time with the veterans. Families can also spend time with residents at Quail Park Retirement Community in Visalia and Terraces at San Joaquin Gardens in Fresno.
Other opportunities for younger kids include baking/decorating cookies and making “Get Well” cards for residents of Ronald McDonald House, creating activity bags for patients at Valley Children’s Hospital, making snack bags and cleaning at Terry’s House and making bookmarks at Fresno County Libraries.
Older kids and parents can help prep food and serve meals at Bakersfield Homeless Center, Poverello House in Fresno and Visalia Rescue Mission. For those who prefer to get outside and get a little dirty, there are beautification projects with the Fresno Grizzlies, the Lowell Neighborhood in Fresno, San Joaquin River Parkway, Kern River Parkway and Visalia Parks & Rec.
Go to the ValleyPBS website now to see a full list of project descriptions, and to sign your family up to participate in Be My Neighbor Day! I really encourage you to go with your kids and learn about the different local organizations that could benefit from your time. An hour or two of your time may make all the difference to someone else! Plus, if you sign up by June 30th, you will be entered to win four tickets to the Fresno Grizzlies’ Fourth of July game!
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