Giving Back: Kid-friendly Volunteer Opportunities

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By: Beth Swanson

Choosing a volunteer activity can be a daunting experience. Many of us want to save the world, but struggle with the overwhelming task of taking on all of the world’s issues. If everybody volunteered regularly, the world would be a much kinder, gentler and happy place to live.

Actually, Mother Teresa said it best, “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.”

It’s important to instill these types of values in our children at a very young age. Volunteering is a great way to spend some quality time with your children while giving back to your community. It’s a win-win situation for everybody involved. Talk to you children about what they are interested in doing. Assess your family’s abilities and availability before committing to anything.

Ready to get started? Great! Here are some kid-friendly activities to get started volunteering today.

Nursing Homes
Visit your local nursing home or elderly care facility. This can be a lonely place for its residents. Your children have the ability to put a smile on the face of someone in need. Talk to a volunteer coordinator to discover the right way for your children to help. Some opportunities may include: bringing flowers, reading to adults, visiting with residents or helping with structured activities.

Homeless Shelters
Families joining together at homeless shelters can really make a difference. Organize a food drive and collect non-perishable food to donate to a shelter. Or, speak with a volunteer coordinator to find out if there are opportunities to help prepare and serve food at the shelter.

Animal Shelters
Contact your local animal shelter to find out about volunteering. Some opportunities may include: feeding animals, playing with animals, walking dogs or other activities.

Park Clean-ups
Cleaning up parks, beaches, roadways and other littered areas is a wonderful way to help Mother Earth. Keep America Beautiful is an organization that coordinates clean-up days across the United States.

Care for the Sick and Disabled
Helping people who cannot help themselves is a fantastic way to teach your children about the importance of giving back to the community. Meals on Wheels is an organization that coordinates food delivery to people in need.

Collect School Supplies
Many developing nations don’t have the resources to provide their children with the tools needed to succeed in school. Collect school supplies and put together care packages for children across the world. Get other families or your child’s school involved to make an even bigger impact. Develop Africa is just one organization that coordinates the delivery of these supplies that will directly improve the lives of children around the world.

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