Family Fun, Thanks and Giving!


(Editor’s note: In the past two weeks, HandsOn Northeast Ohio “HandsOn NEO” celebrated national Family Volunteer Day with various projects around Northeast Ohio. As part of our celebration, HandsOn NEO was able to recognize  the Denk family for their service to our communities and for their work with our organization. Our acknowledgment of the Denk’s volunteerism was meant to not only recognize them but also to honor all of those families helping others in Northeast Ohio. The Denks are like all great volunteers; humble, kind hearted and willing to do their part to help others. They are proof that all of us are remarkable and have immense power to do good. Please find Joellen’s reflection on their service and the fun of helping others)

Guest blog: The following blog is by Joellen Denk, a HandsOn volunteer whose family (husband Tom and sons Thomas, 7 and Benjamin, 6) was recently recognized for their service with a “Daily Point of Light Award” from Points of Light and the Corporation for National and Community Service. More than 5,000 Daily Point of Light honorees have been named to date: 

If you ask either of my two sons (ages 6 & 7) why they like to volunteer, you would undoubtedly get the same answer, “Because it’s fun!” And that right there is why we volunteer and why I have tried to make it a priority to get them involved as young as possible.

For the past three years, we have attended the HandsOn Family Volunteer Parties. They have loved every one of them! From weeding at local community gardens to playing bingo with seniors to painting cans for flowerpots to clearing brush at the nature center to packing up toys for children…they have had a blast. To them, volunteering is now synonymous with fun. Especially, as my oldest tells me, “If it involves getting muddy.” The Nature Center at Shaker Lakes will forever be one of their favorite places because of how muddy they were allowed to get in the marsh removing invasive plants.

I am so grateful HandsOn provides the opportunity for us to have fun as a family while helping others! I am certain these early experiences will ensure that volunteering will always be an important part of their lives in the years to come.


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