Volunteering is all about making the community a better place through our own efforts, so why not let your children participate too. The side effect? Your kids will have a kickstart in selflessness, compassion, generosity and kindness.
There are many creative ways to volunteer based on local needs and your child’s interests, – here are a few.
*Pick up litter in your neighbourhood or wildlife area. It’s safest to do this wearing gloves and using a pick up tool. Put each piece of trash in a box or garbage bag, then recycle or throw away when you’re done.
*Grow vegetables and offer any extra produce to people who don’t have space to garden, to new parents who don’t have time to garden, or even to a hunger centre.
*Let little kids offer popsicles to garbage truck workers for when the days start getting hot.
*Be part of an organisation that helps build a home or a school for people less fortunate, with youth group mission trips.
*Try to find ways to share with your neighbours, with things like toy swaps, clothes and books, etc.
*Regularly visit a ‘grandfriend’ at a nursing home, assisted living facility, or in the neighbourhood. Play card games, do crafts together, teach each other new skills, exchange advice, and build a real connection.
*As a family or with a group of kids, develop a program to present at a nearby library, day care, or community centre. This might be a puppet show, play, or craft project. Or get your dance shoes on! There are so many different ideas.
*Walk dogs, collect post, shovel snow, or rake leaves, etc. for someone in your neighbourhood who needs the help.
*Form a band with friends and put on free shows, or even raise money for a chosen charity.
*Set up a little playgroup for babies at your local nursing home or assisted living facility.
*Make some no-sew dog toys for animals in shelters using fleece or old torn jeans. Use old blankets, pillows, or fabric remnants to make pet beds for shelters. Ask if you can volunteer to walk dogs. Raise funds to buy food, litter, and other items the shelter needs. And consider adopting a rescue animal.
*Raise a service dog, typically a puppy training commitment of two years. There are so many organisations to help, so get looking.
*See if your local food shelter will let families work together to set tables, serve beverages, and clean up. If not, you can raise funds to donate food.
*Serve as an unofficial welcoming friend for immigrants who may need help navigating unfamiliar streets and who need assistance learning the customs and colloquialisms that aren’t in any handbook.
*Repair and donate such items as toys, household items, bikes, or computers.
*Make warm scarves to donate. Collect clothing, blankets, toys, disposable diapers, and personal care items and donate to homeless shelters.
*Do errands, cook and clean, etc. Whatever you can do to help out someone dealing with an illness.