Teaching your children about work ethic, empathy, and a sense of selflessness is one of the most long-lasting and valuable lessons you can pass on. Fostering a desire to give back doesn’t just help the community, it will also benefit your child through school and at home. If you’re looking to give your child an opportunity to volunteer, try one of these kid-friendly options. After you’ve spent a long day giving back to the community, why not come to Rebounderz Trampoline Park and jump around a bit? It’s fun for the whole family!
Kids and grandparents go together like peanut butter and jelly. When you volunteer at a senior center, you give back to our elders who may not get very many visitors. Just because you’re volunteering doesn’t mean your child is expected to handle the medical needs of a senior, though. More often than not, it’s something as simple as playing games together or eating lunch. All it takes is some conversation and compassion to really make an impact.
Check with your local senior center to see what their needs are and what you can help with. While some centers have special volunteer days, others are able to take unscheduled visitors. Whether it’s through an Adopt-A-Grandparent program that pairs a child with a specific person or they spend time with everyone around, this is a wonderful way to help out. Who knows? Your child might learn about history from someone who was really there, which they can then take into their schoolwork.
If your child loves animals, this is a fantastic opportunity for them to play with some puppies and kittens that are in need of some love and affection. Because this might be a bit much for really young kids to handle, this is a better option for teens. Young children often get attached to the animals and don’t want to leave without them. Most animal shelters have age requirements for volunteers for this reason, so it’s a good idea to check with your local shelter to see what their rules are. They may have certain tasks available for younger children.
While you may not have trouble feeding your family, others aren’t as lucky. Soup kitchens and food pantries present an opportunity to help the less fortunate when they’re in need. Small children may be better suited to help with a trip to the grocery store to find things to donate, but older kids can help serve hot meals to the hungry. Soup kitchens and food pantries can always use extra help, year round, so don’t relegate this to the holidays. If you’re dropping off a donation, ask another volunteer to tell your little one how much this helps families in need. When they see just how impactful their contribution is, they will likely want to keep helping as much as they can.
Learning that other kids aren’t as healthy as they are can be a tough but valuable lesson for children to learn. Many children’s hospitals offer programs specifically for younger volunteers to participate in. However, depending on the ailment, your child might not come into direct contact with a patient. There might be special projects that children can participate in, or you can shop for and donate toys or other supplies that are on the institution’s wish list. Other programs are geared toward teenagers, where they are interviewed to see if they qualify for the program. After they’re selected, they might deliver presents or play with the patients to give them a much-needed break from the reality of being hospitalized. In the end, these are still kids. Kids deserve to play and laugh, no matter what condition they’re in.
Volunteering at the library is perfect for kids that love reading. Most public libraries offer junior volunteer programs for children over a certain age where they can help out with some of the odds and ends amongst the stacks and shelves of books. This could mean they help sort books and return them to their proper spots or assist with toddler story time. Even young kids can help out informally by cleaning up the children’s area or returning books to where they belong. You never know what book might pique their interest while they’re helping out. It could spur a whole new love of science fiction or history, entirely based on the cover or title of a book they’re putting away.
We’re going to dive into five more kid-friendly places that your child could volunteer at in the near future, but we hope this has got the ball rolling on your little one’s potential philanthropic pursuits. After you’re done helping out in the community, bring your kid to Rebounderz Trampoline Park here in Edison. It’ll give them a chance to jump and play around after a day of volunteering in the community. We hope to see you here soon!