How to Get Kids Involved in Community Service Work
Children learn a variety of skills while participating in local service projects. Community service is an important part of local community development. Volunteer work develops the moral character of children. Skills are enhanced and new interests and talents are discovered. Through service work, children acquire a better sense of self-love. They learn to be generous, considerate, and compassionate to people and animals. Here are some basic ideas of how parents can begin to involve their children in the community.
Many hospitals have a large number of volunteer needs. Call the volunteer coordinator at your local hospital. Generally, children will need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Some examples of meaningful volunteer work are helping hand out flowers, reading to bedridden patients, or making cartoons of people for hospital room walls. Some hospitals have cancer rooms where children may need to stay for long periods. These long-term patients would surely love to have another child to provide companionship and friendship.
Nursing homes and assisted living communities welcome young volunteers. There are many activities in this type of facility. Programs like crafts, bingo, and social events are generally held in both nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Many volunteer coordinators need room visits for bedridden patients. Some elderly residents may have family members who live out of state and would greatly appreciate a visit from a young volunteer. Children can also read aloud to residents and make cards for them.
The local humane society opens its doors to volunteers of all ages. Dogs need to be walked and interact with them. Cats, kittens, and puppies need company. You and your child could collect pet food and beds at your child’s church or school. Contact your local animal shelter to see what the needs of the child-friendly service project are.
Many soup kitchens have many needs and welcome volunteers of all ages. Children and parents can serve meals to the less fortunate. In some cases, canned goods must be stored and classified. If the soup kitchen is part of a homeless shelter, there may be other children living there. Teaching your child to share what they have and to donate some of their toys is a great character builder!
When researching ideas for local volunteer projects, try to think about the interests your children may have. For example, if you love animals, the animal shelter can be a good match. If your kids like cooking projects at home, soup kitchens should be a great combination. When volunteering, be sure to praise your children for their efforts. Encourage them and remind them of the exceptional work they are doing while helping others.