You can give the next generation of volunteers a head start simply by giving them some examples to follow. And the more they see, the more likely they’ll want to do. Here are a few ideas:
Get the feet wet.
You can ease children into the idea of volunteering by picking one project at a time, and limiting the investment to an hour or two per week, at first. Your local food bank is a great place to start, as most have opportunities to volunteer for short shifts on your schedule. You could also locate a homeless shelter or soup kitchen in your vicinity, where kids can witness the benefits of their volunteer efforts, firsthand. Ready for something bigger? You can work together to organize a community clothing, toy or food drive.
Bring them along for the ride.
Are you already volunteering in your community? Have a discussion with your child about your role and how you feel it makes a difference. Would they be willing to shadow you for a day or help you out in some way? If you’re at a large organization, your coordinator can help devise a plan to get your children or local youth involved. You can also talk to your kids about starting a brand new volunteer adventure together, like cleaning up a river or stream, or grabbing work gloves and trash bags for a cleanup hike through your local park.
Share some shareable skills.
You can teach children basic strategies for financial responsibility, work together to make your home safer, or find new ways to make it energy efficient. All of these skills can be relayed to other young volunteers or put into practice to help every family on your street.
Give kids a seat, or their very own table.
Want to inspire children to volunteer and build their confidence at the same time? You can help them craft their own volunteer plan. Start with a discussion about their goals and interests (this Volunteer Wizard can help). Do they have ideas about how to make the world a better place? Are any of their friends interested in helping out as well? Lion’s Heart is an organization dedicated to helping you find volunteer opportunities for teens. This inspiration tool and DIY guide can also help your child take the first step. Add with your encouragement, wisdom and guidance, they’ll be ready in no time for volunteer success.
Start your child on the path to becoming a lifelong volunteer. Browse opportunities near you.