Getting involved in the community is super easy in the summer because the kids have time off. But how about when the fall rolls around and school is in session? How do you get the kids involved then? As you ramp up for an exciting new school year, it’s great to keep the children involved in serving others.
Here are 10 ideas to consider:
- Homeless Shelters
Homeless Shelters are open year-round and are always looking for people like you to help. Find out of your local homeless shelter could use some help over the weekend and spend a weekend per month volunteering.
On Thanksgiving morning, how about taking the kids over to the shelter to pass out meals? The lesson of being grateful will be further strengthened.
- March of Dimes
The March of Dimes is an organization that supports research into health care therapies that help save the lives of premature infants.
You can donate money or walk with your family to support the cause.
- Local community center/church activities
Find out from your local church or civic center what activities they have planned to reach out to the less fortunate in your community and get on board with those! Often canned food drives and other collections for homeless shelters and food banks are ongoing throughout the year and especially in the fall. Challenge your kids to collect a certain number of cans or blankets and set a goal as a family.
- Donate old household items
We always talk about “Spring Cleaning,” but how about a “Fall Cleaning” just before school re-opens to declutter? You and your kids can then donate those old clothes, gadgets, toys, etc to Goodwill or The Salvation Army.
- Peer Tutoring
This one is great if you have older children (5th grade or higher is great). You could start your very own community peer tutoring program where kids who are struggling with school come to get tutored by other children who have been through the same grades as them.
Both sets of children - tutors and tutees - will learn a lot from the experience. As a matter of fact, according to this study, students who knew they would have to tutor others performed higher and recalled more material on a test than their counterparts who did not have to tutor someone else.
- Volunteer at an Adopt-A-Pet Event
PetSmart and other companies like it regularly host Adopt-A-Pet weekend. If your child is a pet lover like the little girl in this video, you can get them to volunteer and help out at one of these events.
Who knows? Volunteer projects like these could be the doorway to helping your child discover their future career in veterinary medicine.
- Community decorations
Fall is the season for all things decorating. If your city puts up lights or a tree during the Thanksgiving/Christmas/Hanukkah season, this is an excellent way to get involved for the whole family.
You can also help your neighborhood with decorating, especially any elderly neighbors or busy single moms who may not be able to decorate themselves. Your kids can spread seasonal cheer by helping these people.
- Deliver Cupcakes To Cops and Firefighters
A sweet gesture to show we appreciate the police officers and firefighters in our community. Have your child deliver a tray of home-made cupcakes to your local precinct or fire station one of these days.
- Spread Holiday Cheer
Caroling, preparing gift bags for sick children in the hospital or the lovely old folks at your local home and letters to dads and moms in prison are all excellent ways to get the kids involved in serving others other than themselves during this season when so many are lonely.
- Sponsor a soldier
Our armed forces work hard each and every day to keep our country safe. Teaching kids to appreciate our men and women in uniform is the least we can do to show our support. Connect with programs that allow families to sponsor soldiers who are at home and abroad.
Our schools are often great at keeping our kids busy and engaged with their peers during the school day, but reinforcing the value of helping and serving others during the rest of the day and weekend is just as important. These activities are great ways to start, but we’re sure you can think of an endless list of other ways. We’d love to hear your ideas!