When we think of community service or volunteer opportunities we don’t always think about how our kids can actually get involved. We often think about what we as the parents can do from PTA president, room mom, team mom, coach a sports team, lead a scout troop , serve in a soup kitchen etc. Yes, we do a great job at modeling community service to our kids but is it possible to allow them to experience community service by volunteering and serving now while they are young?
It has been one of my goals to find new opportunities to get my younger kids involved in community service and volunteering. Back in May I attended my third United Way Community Service award ceremony where over 550 high school students were awarded a varsity letter in community service – just like a football player or Varsity cheerleader receives. Several years ago the Pierce County United way created a community service varsity letter opportunity and it has really made an impact across our county with over 1 million hours of community service hours volunteered each year by high school students. It got me once again thinking about the younger children and how can they get involved?
Teaching our kids to serve and volunteer helps them to learn to think about others, it gives them the satisfaction of helping others making a difference and having purpose. As well as teaching them about responsibility and commitment.
Are you ready to inspire your kids to get involved in their community by volunteering to serve? Here is a list of fun ideas that will help inspire you and your kids to get involved in serving and volunteering in your community
Bedtime Snack Bags: Most or our kids enjoy a bedtime snack. However children living in homeless shelters seldom have that treat. Create bedtime snack bags to take to your local family shelters. Decorate lunch bags with markers then fill with a non-perishable bedtime snack and/or beverage such as a granola bar, packaged crackers, or dried fruit. You might also include a new toothbrush and toothpaste and you could even add a small “Happy Meals” type toy for a fun surprise.
Soup Kitchens : Volunteer your time at a local soup kitchen to help feed the homeless.
Military packages – Have your kids create cards and care packages for those serving our country. They can send a card or a care package to a soldier overseas through AnySoldier.com
Vacation Bible School: In the spring check with your local charities to see if they need volunteers to help in their Summer Vacation Bible Schools.
Dog Walking Fun: Contact your local humane society to see if they allow volunteers to walk their dogs. This is a great way for yoru family to get family exercise and volunteer to help .
Hospital Volunteer : Check with your local hospital about potential volunteer opportunities or the possibility of your kids making get well cards and delivering them.
Outdoor Clean-Up: Contact your local Parks and Recreation department to see if they need help with trail and/or park clean-up.
Off To The Races: Does your community hold various marathons or races? Offer to volunteer at these events with your kids helping with registration or to distribute T-shirts. Children can help pass out water or even hold the ribbon at the finish line.
Entertaining Fun: Do you have a child who loves to be on stage or has musical and drama abilities? Contact your local nursing homes and see if they would allow your children to come and do a free performance. This is a great idea to get your kids friends together and put on a talent show.
Food Banks: Volunteer to help stock shelves or to collect food.
Special Olympics: Contact you local Special Olympics organization about possible volunteer opportunities .
Habitat for Humanity : Get out and build with your kids. Contact Habitat for Humanity and see if they have any upcoming volunteer opportunities.
Clothing Drive: Have your kids Gather their clothes and collect them form others to be donated to your local homeless shelter.
Car wash: Help your kids organize a neighborhood car wash to raise money for their favorite charity.
Garage/Toy sale : Help your kids de-clutter their toys to sell at their own garage sale to raise money for their favorite charity.
School supplies: Have your kids start a school supply drive and/or backpack drive. Kids need supplies all school year so anytime is a great time to begin this.
Volunteer Center: Call your chamber of commerce to see if your community has a volunteer center. This is a great place to discover additional organizations that are looking for volunteers.
Reading Fun: Contact your local library to see if they allow volunteers for their reading programs. Your children can help make posters for upcoming events or dress as a storybook character. Also, older kids may read to seniors at nursing homes.
Recycle: Collect aluminum cans and donate the money to your favorite charity
Care Package : Create packages of food and toiletries for the homeless. Hand them out to those you see on street corners or call a local homeless shelter and offer to supply them with your bags
United way / Youth United : To find out about local opportunities go to their website and type in your zip code it will show you all the local opportunities.
What is your kid or teen interested in find away to create their passions into a volunteer opportunity .
Do you have ideas on how your kids have volunteered?