We’ve recently covered many of the reasons why you’d want to encourage your kids to volunteer based on the skillsets and perspectives it can offer your children. Now that you’re even more aware of its value and possible positive impacts on your family, we thought it might be helpful to offer some suggestions as to how to get your children involved.
The first step, as we mentioned (link to last blog), is to engage in an activity or a cause that is meaningful or important to your child or your family. Some kids love being around animals. Some kids love being outside, and some kids want to be involved with a friend or family member that may have a medical condition. Other kids may not have a specific interest or have a strong connection to any specific cause, and that’s okay. It becomes important for parents to expose their kids to new and different things in order to spark their interest to an organization or a cause.
We’ve outlined seven different ideas for you and your family to volunteer. Here are several different categories and corresponding ideas to get your volunteer experience kick-started.
Advocacy and human rights – when we were children, many of us raised money for Unicef at Halloween. Unicef https://www.unicef.org/ now has a great program called Voices of Youth that will connect your kids to another child across the world. One of the largest organizations in this category is Amnesty International https://www.amnesty.org/en/ , an organization that tackles human rights violations from refugee and migrant rights to gender, sexuality, and identity causes.
Animals – Kids can volunteer at their local Humane Society http://www.humanesociety.org/ , ASPCA chapter https://www.aspca.org/ , or rescue organization. Your family can help animals in your own home by fostering dogs, cats or other animals looking for their forever family.
Arts & Culture – If your child loves the arts, some local children’s museums allow kids and their families to volunteer, giving them the opportunity to be in an environment that they enjoy.
Environmental – For children that love spending time outside, environmental causes are easy ones to get them involved in. Have the family participate in a beach, canyon, or park clean up. Get involved in an Earth Day https://www.earthday.org/ celebration or join your local Sierra Club https://www.earthday.org/ chapter.
Homelessness – There are many shelters and food banks set up in most major cities and towns to help support the homeless population. Whether you choose to put together packages that are distributed on the streets or serve meals to the homeless, there are many ways that your family can support organizations that support the homeless.
Local Community – Your family doesn’t even need to leave your neighborhood to engage in meaningful volunteer activities. You can grocery shop or do yard work for a sick neighbor. Offer to repair toys or household items for neighbors. Start a neighborhood garden or toy swap. There are many ways to get involved to make a positive change in your own backyard – just look to see who may need help.
Seniors – As the baby boomer generation continues to age, support of seniors in our society is becoming more and more critical. Pick up a Meals on Wheels https://www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org/ route and deliver food with your kids. Have your kids practice a skit, a song, or even a puppet show that they can put on in a local senior center. Even spending time and eating meals in a senior center with the residents can be a wonderful way to volunteer your time.
Volunteering is a wonderful way to get involved in your community and clearly make a difference the lives of others. If none of the ideas above resonate, there are also sites, like VolunteerMatch.org, that can help you find volunteer opportunities in your local area.