Children enjoy helping others. What can you do to foster this desire to help in your children? Summer is a great time to educate the young ones about ways to serve. It is so important for a parent to be involved with children under 14 in volunteer activities.
Start by looking around your own neighborhood. Is there an older adult or disabled neighbor that has difficulty doing their lawn? Can you adopt this lawn as your family summer project? Children can help prepare the yard for cutting by picking up twigs and rocks and stray paper. They can help pull weeds and rake grass clippings and sweep the sidewalk. Children love to water plants and get wet in the process. A child can help a neighbor take out their trash, pick up the mail.
Families can volunteer at community gardens, food pantries, food kitchens, thrift stores or special events like runs and bike rides for charity. These activities all give children the opportunity to work side by side with a parent to help others. It is important that children know why they are helping. Service provides real opportunities to teach children about need and the role they can play to help meet need.
Churches provide opportunities for families to help. Handing out song books or bulletins are easy tasks for children with supervision. Maybe your church has a work day where church members help maintain the grounds or clean the sanctuary. Children learn by example. Children can initiate a drive or collection at church asking each member to bring a kid-friendly snack item to be donated to a local food pantry.
Art work by children always brings a smile to the face of an adult. Art work can be delivered to church members who don’t get out and about or taken to a nursing home or high rise to be shared with the residents. Art projects are a good way to keep cool on a hot summer afternoon.
If you need help identifying a family volunteer opportunity, feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
Diane Hentges is director of the Volunteer at the United Way of Wyandotte County.