The kids are off school this long Thanksgiving weekend, and unless you've temporarily lost your mind and are planning to drag them with you to the stores on Black Friday, you're probably looking for some activities to enjoy as a family. Why not skip the madness at the malls and partake in something that actually celebrates the meaning of this national holiday? Kentucky Refugee Ministries offers some volunteer opportunities that families can do together; in the process, your children will surely have a new appreciation for all they have to be grateful for, and they will help provide refugee families with the comforts of home.
Visit www.kyrm.org  to learn how this non-profit agency has provided resettlement services to more than 437 individuals so far this year. Even in this tough economy, KRM is able to find jobs for hundreds of the newest Louisvillians, but they also provide more basic domestic services for refugees who are striving to begin their life anew in Kentucky.
Here's where your children could help. KRM needs help sorting donated items into appropriate boxes. Simple, right? My organized five year-old would love sorting utensils, dishes, soap, dishtowels, etc. into a designated kitchen box, which will then await a gracious family of four when they arrive at their new home.
Once those boxes are filled, KRM staff delivers them, along with furniture and other donated items. But KRM needs volunteers who can go into the household and make it a home. Making beds, arranging furniture, stocking cabinets, folding towels--any child who enjoys playing house would delight in this "work," although I doubt he or she would find it tedious. In the process, you and your family will learn about a new culture or a new part of town while profoundly impacting the lives of refugee parents and children.
Now that's something to be thankful for.
For more information on Kentucky Refugee Ministries' mission, impact, and volunteer opportunities, visit their website  and submit a volunteer request. If you can't start this weekend, do it in December and make it your holiday gift to your community. It's never too late—and you're never too young—to learn how to give back.
Photo: courtesy of www.kyrm.org