Summer is the perfect time of year to consider a volunteer project with your whole family. Not only can children learn valuable “working” skills and all about different organizations – as well as how these organizations fit within society – but kids also learn how to give back and be thankful for what they have. According to www.CompassionateKids.com, children who see their parents volunteering are much more likely to believe in the value of helping others. Plus, working alongside your kids is not only a great way to teach by example – it’s also fun.
You don’t have to look far to find a fun opportunity for your family. Below you’ll find suggestions for kids by age, as well as links to posts we’ve run in the past featuring local charities and service project ideas. We also received terrific suggestions from our readers and Facebook fans. Enjoy scoping out our list, and if we did not include a volunteer opportunity you know of, please add in the comments below.
Think About What Your Child Can and Wants To Do
Before you volunteer, be sure to consider the interests and abilities of your child. An article on www.Oprah.com listed these age-appropriate volunteer ideas:
Keep volunteering opportunities simple. Volunteering at food banks and senior centers are perfect for this age.
Children between these ages can take volunteering to the next level. Organize a neighborhood or community cleanup day – and work alongside friends and neighbors.
Children of this age will know what they’re good at and what interests them. Tutoring younger children may be a fun idea for a parent and child to do together. Or volunteer at a local animal shelter and have the whole family take dogs for walks, play with cats, or donate animal toys or much-needed items.
Service options for older teems are endless. Working in a homeless shelter or getting involved with an environmental group are two great suggestions for teens to do – by themselves – or with other family members.
Remember These Posts from Our Bloggers?
Blogger Stefanie Moore provided us with a fabulous list of local charities in her blog “The ‘No Gift’ Birthday.” Instead of birthday presents, Stefanie and her children ask guests to donate to a local charity. Many of these local charities are also looking for volunteers. If you are not sure of what you and your family want to do, consult Stefanie’s list!
Anne Powers wrote a blog for us last year about summer service project ideas, and her post is still timely and chock full of wonderful ideas that are not only great for summertime but also year-round.
Remember this post from our friends at Riverwood Therapeutic Riding Center? Riverwood Therapeutic Riding Center is a 53-acre farm full of hope and happiness – a place where individuals with special needs come to heal, prosper, and realize that their abilities far outweigh their disabilities. If you have a child age 14 or older, you should consider volunteering your time here! And you don’t have to be a seasoned rider. All summer long, Riverwood holds summer riding lessons for volunteers.
More Ideas From Our Readers and Facebook Fans
The Piedmont Diaper Bank is always looking for families who want to volunteer together! Organizing a diaper drive is a fun way for the whole family to get involved in unique ways. First, you decide where and when to have your diaper drive (church, school, business, community area, etc.). Then you can brainstorm different ways to promote the diaper drive. Computer savvy kids can develop a flyer to print out, creative kids can design an eye catching poster and even the smallest kids can add their own special prints to the decorations. After the diaper drive, the kids can organize and count the diapers before delivering them to the diaper bank. The Piedmont Diaper Bank will also provide some ideas and support to help your diaper drive be successful. And a bonus for busy families – organizing the diaper drive can all be done at your own convenience, so it’s a great option for families with crazy schedules!
The Ronald McDonald House in Winston-Salem posted this blog about ways families can support RMH this summer, and some of these ideas are super cute – and easy to do – for families with young children. Currently, RMH is looking for arts and crafts volunteers a few afternoons a month. If interested, contact Chacy SanFilippo, the Family Support Program Coordinator, at 336.970-5657 or ChacyS@rmhwinstonsalem.org.
The Greensboro Children’s Museum is always on the hunt for good volunteers in its Edible Schoolyard – and you know your kids will have a blast helping out. For more information, click here. (The photo above is from the Edible Schoolyard, courtesy of Greensboro Children’s Museum’s website.)
Peacehaven Community Farm in Whitsett, NC, is a place where adults with intellectual and physical disabilities can come and live permanently while helping out on the farm. They are usually looking for donations and other help. Visit their web page for more information.
Welfare Reform Liason Project is a non-profit faith-based organization that promotes self-sufficiency for low income families in Guilford County. Volunteers are needed to contribute time and effort in unpacking inventory and products and stocking shelves. Interested volunteers can contact their community partnership coordinator by visiting this page.
What other family volunteer ideas can you offer?