It’s easy to get into the after school routine of making a snack and watching TV. But when you tap into that volunteer initiative and apply it just one night a week, or one weekend a month, you can plant seeds of charity to develop over a lifetime. Here are a few creative ideas to get kids into the volunteer spirit.
Start with a simple chat.
One great way to get the volunteer conversation started is to simply ask your kids about what moves them. Do they have a passion for animals or pets? Your local humane society may have volunteer opportunities, and you’ll find a full list of ideas for youth volunteering at paws.org. Do they like the great outdoors and opportunities to explore? The Nature Conservancy has resources for young volunteers to learn, act and lead. Or they could join the National Park Service Youth Conservation Corps.
Show them ways to serve others.
If you have, or know, kids who have a passion for compassion, there are several ways to get them involved as volunteers. You could help them organize a toy drive and engage their neighbors and friends. To help the homeless, you can find your local soup kitchen or food pantry and learn how to volunteer. Or organize a coat drive to help local families survive the lingering, winter cold. Find even more ideas by scrolling through these do-it-yourself project guides.
Give them the tools to set their ideas in motion.
Kids and teens are just as amazing, ambitious and caring as adults. Sometimes the only thing standing between them and their next volunteer opportunity is a way to actually get to the volunteer site. A carpool system between parents of volunteer youth is a simple way to reduce the impact on any one parent. And you could always multiply your efforts by volunteering together. Another solution is to find youth volunteer opportunities right at home. You can keep it simple with a craft-making party where you share the fruits of your labor with kids in local hospitals. Or just have your kids grab a shovel and a friend after the next big snow, and clear the sidewalks or driveways of as many neighbors as they can.