5 Tulsa-Area Volunteer Opportunities for Families

Beyond simply saying “thank you,” I wanted my daughter to grow to be truly grateful for her many blessings.

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by Laura Araujo

As a parent, raising children who are grateful is one of my goals. A couple years ago, I was struggling with how to teach my then-three-year-old daughter about gratitude.

Beyond simply saying “thank you,” I wanted my daughter to grow to be truly grateful for her many blessings.

Can you relate?

Admittedly, we probably don’t make it easy for her. She has a closet full of toys, another closet full of clothes and a refrigerator full of food. She doesn’t know what it means not to have. Plus, many times our family life revolves around our girls. We plan outings and activities and vacations to entertain them.

I did some research about raising grateful children and one of the suggestions I read was to involve kids in volunteering. It makes sense. If parenting is about teaching by example, serving others—those who don’t have toys, clothes and food in abundance—is a great way to combat an attitude of entitlement. And it has worked!

Over the past two years my husband and I have involved our daughter in volunteer opportunities, both locally and internationally. We take her to Abundant Rain Ministriesvolunteering_ my 5-year-old daughter where she has helped to fill bags of beans for earthquake victims in Nepal and to give Thanksgiving turkeys to some of the neediest families in Wagoner County. We take her to the Camino Villa neighborhood in Broken Arrow where she helps pack food boxes for families and plays soccer with the kids who live there. Last year for Christmas, instead of more toys, we took her on a mission trip to Oaxaca, Mexico, where our family participated in an outreach to provide eye care to many who have never seen an eye doctor.

I have witnessed how the exposure to a bigger perspective of the world has helped her to become more grateful for her blessings. (Of course, it’s an ongoing lesson!) Recently, we’ve started taking our two-year-old daughter with us as we volunteer. I can tell by the big smile on her face as she carries a bag of bread and puts it in a food box, that she already loves to serve!

Summer is a great time to volunteer as a family. Before the kids go back to school, try out one of these family-friendly volunteer opportunities. You’ll not only make a difference in the lives of others in the Tulsa community, but in your family’s life as well!


Best for: all ages

On the second Saturday of each month, between 150 and 250 people gather in the Venue 68 parking lot (located just south of Asbury United Methodist Church), choose a volunteer opportunity for the morning, and board a bus that will take them to one of several service locations. From pulling weeds, to painting, to visiting nursing home residents, there’s a role for everyone!

“Our youngest volunteer is two months old and our oldest is 92 years,” Second Saturdays Coordinator Betty Higgins said. “It’s lovely to see young families with little bitty kids involved.”

The program is open to anyone in the Tulsa community; you don’t have to attend Asbury Church—or any church—to serve. Higgins said it’s a great way for college students to get a guaranteed four hours of volunteer credit. There’s no need to sign up in advance. Just show up at 8 a.m. on the second Saturday of the month!

Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless, Tulsa

Best for: all ages

The Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless in downtown Tulsa is helping to house clients and enabling them to become self-sufficient. Service opportunities such as organizing the Day Center’s clothing room and serving meals to clients are available to families.

A project suited for families with younger kids is putting together “housewarming kits.” Families can purchase a checklist of basic items that a person will need to start out—things like sheets, towels, dishes, pots and pans, and cleaning supplies. Kids can personalize the kits by adding homemade cards to the boxes.

Those wanting to serve should go onto the Day Center website and complete the volunteer application. Volunteer Coordinator Co Edwards will contact applicants to find out more about how they are hoping to serve.

Restore Hope Ministries, Tulsa

Best for: elementary-aged children and up

Restore Hope Minvolunteering_ food box at abundant rain ministriesistries helps Tulsa-area families experiencing financial crisis. In one year, their homeless prevention initiative kept almost 1,800 people from becoming homeless. They have a food program that helps to reduce hunger in the Tulsa community as well as a chapel program to serve the emotional and spiritual needs of their clients. Families are welcome to contact Restore Hope to find out about service opportunities.

Abundant Rain Ministries, Coweta

Best for: elementary-aged children and up

A short drive from Tulsa, Abundant Rain Ministries in Coweta is making great strides in hunger reduction in and beyond their community. Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday the ministry’s Joseph House Community Food Bank is open to those in need of food. On “Super Saturdays” they have clothing and a hot meal available as well. They also package and ship food internationally to places like earthquake-stricken Nepal. Contact Abundant Rain and make plans to come out with your family for a Super Saturday of service.

Bixby Outreach CenterBixby

Best for: elementary-aged children and up

The Bixby Outreach Center (BOC) coordinates volunteers for Bixby Public Schools’ summer feeding program, which takes place weekdays through the end of July. Two to three volunteers are needed each day to supervise the lunchroom and help to keep it clean.  Contact BOC Director Natalie Kemmerly at 918-366-9925 or email natalie.kemmerly@bixbyoc.org for more information.

Laura Araujo is a Tulsa mom trying to teach her two young daughters the importance of gratitude and service. She enjoys volunteering in the Tulsa community as well as taking mission trips abroad.  

2 Comments on 5 Tulsa-Area Volunteer Opportunities for Families

  1. What great info!!! Thank you Thank you!

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