Date nights and volunteering are just two of the (many!) things that most parents have little time for these days — despite the best of intentions. But, just think how amazing it would be if we could work both (yes, I said both!) into our hectic lives.
Well, one multitasking mom is making it happen for some lucky parents in the central Florida area.
Kristen Manieri, founder of blog Orlando Date Night Guide, believes in regular date nights for not only strengthening a relationship but also making a happier home. Just over a year ago, as a way to give back to her community, Manieri launched Do Good Date Night — a parents night out series that allows couples to spend quality time together while also working on charitable projects.
Do Good Date Night empowers couples, as they head off to complete one hour of service work, followed by celebratory fun. “Couples get to enjoy catered food, adult beverages, music, and interactive elements, such as trivia,” Manieri tells Babble.
“I think the most important component is that we actually do work that makes a real difference, while presenting couples with a tangible impact on issues they care about, rather than simply writing a check without a hands-on connection,” she continues.
I can totally relate. Before my son was born, I worked at a nonprofit and contributed to several worthy causes. Now, my husband and I are working parents of a toddler. We rarely get out for date night, and our philanthropy efforts have transitioned from galas to Girl Scout cookie purchases. So we were thrilled to attend a Do Good Date Night at our local food bank.
After a long week of working and parenting, it was nice to do something outside of the norm (i.e. dinner and a movie). The evening was perfectly planned out, and offered an affordable way to spend time together. Typical fundraisers cost hundreds of dollars to attend, but Do Good Date Night averages to be about $15-20 per person (including food, beverage, and activities!). You can’t beat it, especially with 100 percent of proceeds benefiting the night’s charity.
Bonding with my spouse over something so much bigger than ourselves, and our lives, was priceless. Frankly, it felt great! And, I definitely had a ‘proud wife moment’ watching my better half smile along with fellow couples as he put together nutritious, lifesaving kits for the hungry.
So, are these date nights actually making a difference? You bet! 12 sold out events, attended by hundreds of philanthropic-minded parents, have raised over $5,500 for local charities. Activities included preparing 22,500 meals for hungry children through Feeding Children Everywhere, organizing 16,000 pounds of produce for Second Harvest Food Bank, making 4,000 hygiene kits for undeveloped regions with Clean the World, building two homes for deserving families with Habitat for Humanity, and more.
The popularity of Do Good Date Night is growing, and I love knowing that the demand exists. Manieri hopes to expand the series into other U.S. cities.
“This is the gateway drug to volunteerism for busy parents,” she explains. “There’s a trickle-down effect of connecting people with a nonprofit that they may not have connected with otherwise. My hope is that they’ll continue supporting nonprofits.”
This meaningful endeavor started with just one mom, so even though your city may not have an official event series, I challenge you to still ‘do good’ on your date nights. You might surprise yourselves, and really enjoy it!