By Kate Atwood

The New Year means new opportunities to start a cycle of good in our community. We often set resolutions just for ourselves, but this year I challenge you to make a resolution for your entire family: Give back more and enjoy it.

You may be a veteran at volunteering, but how about your family?  Since beginning this column and my blog, two questions I frequently get asked are: “How do I get my kids involved?” or “I want to find a volunteer project in the community for my family?”

For a family, it could be as a scary as introducing a new vegetable at the dinner table. But like eating veggies, giving back is a great thing to learn young and ultimately leads to a healthier lifestyle. To help you and your family kick-off 2012 making a difference, here are three websites to have on your radar.

For Kids and Teens: GenerationOn
You are never too young to start making your mark on the world. This is the core philosophy of GenerationOn, the youth division of Points of Light Institute. This resource has brought the nation’s leading youth service organizations under one umbrella to give kids the opportunity to learn about the issues in their communities and access the tools they need to help.  Simply put, GenerationOn connects kids to causes and projects by engaging them online, in an exciting, kid-friendly way.  (Note: Remember, for our kids, the online community is an important part of their life and it is a great platform for them to find purpose in giving back to help others.)

For Young Adults: One Percent Foundation
The One Percent Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to engaging young adults in philanthropy. The Foundation is one large giving circle, which means it creates a community where young people can pool together their funds in a collaborative effort to have a bigger impact on causes most important to them. This resource not only educates young adults on best practices of being philanthropic, it also raises awareness for the important issues affecting our world.  While mostly focused on twentysomethings, this is an organization that can get high school and college students started.  (Note: This is also something that you can do just with your own family. Have your kids pool a portion of their allowance, match that amount, and then decide together who it should help.)

For Families: Doing Good Together
Doing Good Together is a website that I recently came across and immediately was inspired. I stand behind their belief that by spending time with loved ones while also helping the larger world, leads children to become compassionate, aware of social issues, and ultimately develop a lifelong habit of giving. This grassroots organization provides tips, ideas and tools to engage your family in charitable activities that can make a difference in your community.  From the environment to the elderly, they have practical ideas that carry inspirational impact for your family to experience.

I  am always excited to hear about creative ways people in Atlanta are giving back and helping those causes that matter most to them. Please send me an email, if you’d like me to share your story in 2012.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.