Thanks to Tami Lee, one of my fabulous colleagues at Ramsey County Library in Saint Paul, Minnesota, I recently learned about a national nonprofit called, “Doing Good Together” whose mission dovetails nicely with the work that we do in libraries. The organization works to connect families with volunteer and service opportunities to create a kinder, more connected world.
From their website:
“Our mission is unique and deeply layered. We provide tools to both families and organizations to help them raise compassionate, engaged children. Our innovative activities, resources, and support help make empathy and “giving back” a natural part of life’s early lessons.”
Their organization has different levels of engagement, which makes them a great partnership for libraries to work with. Libraries can hire or partner with them directly, use the Doing Good Together Family Service Fair eBook guidelines to build own their own event, or buy their pre-made Compassion Kits, which are essentially a book club in a bag for families; pairing books, discussion guides, and activity ideas to help adults spark kindness, compassion, and understanding in children.
Doing Good Together’s “Family Service Night” Program, which Tami experienced at her son’s school, is a great example of an event that libraries can host to bring together different community organizations. The event was set up like a fair, with different organizations offering opportunities for families to make and do things to benefit others. Examples of service activities are things like decorating ping pong balls for kittens at the animal shelter, making sandwiches for Meals on Wheels, making tie-blankets for people in shelters, or making cards for hospitals or military bases.
This kind of event is a natural fit for libraries to act as facilitators between service groups in the community and families. Ideally, a family service fair will lead families to meaningful community service opportunities with organizations outside of the library. The opportunities to build and facilitate relationships with this program is unparalleled—between the library, patrons, neighbors, community organizations and non-profits!
Ramsey County Library is looking forward to hosting a Family Service Fair in our library system this fall, and hopefully you’ll consider hosting one in your community as well! If you’d like to learn more about Doing Good Together, visit their website and check out all the fantastic community resources they offer: http://www.doinggoodtogether.org/
Anna Haase Krueger is a member of the Liaisons for National Organizations committee and Children’s Librarian at the Ramsey County Library.