Volunteering is an excellent way to teach your kids important life skills. In addition, volunteering during the holidays helps promote an ‘attitude of gratitude’ in your household and takes your child’s mind off their holiday wish list.
Volunteering Is For the Whole Family
It is not only those who you help that benefit when you and your family volunteer. When kids volunteer, they learn important skills, like following directions and collaborating with others. Your child will also learn more about her abilities and talents when she volunteers, including leadership skills. Older kids may discover they enjoy helping to organize the volunteer activities and overseeing younger volunteers. This self-discovery is especially valuable to teens deciding which career path to select in high school.
Volunteering Builds Character by Teaching Empathy and Compassion
The real world is a harsh place and it can be tempting to shelter kids from the hard, cold realities of natural disasters, poverty and illness. However, by allowing kids to see that others in the community need help, many times due to circumstances beyond their control, you allow them to see that their unique set of skills and talents are needed by others in their community. This sense of making a difference and the opportunity to care for
others can fill your child with a sense of purpose and an excitement that they won’t be able to get from a new toy or video game.
How to Get Your Family Involved in Volunteering
It is important to start teaching empathy and compassion early, before the turmoil of the teen years begins. Make volunteering part of your family’s lifestyle, even if your kids are very young. If your kids are young, keep it simple by looking for age-appropriate opportunities close to home. There are more than you may realize. Many churches organize meals for members who have become suddenly ill or experienced the unexpected loss of a family member. You may find opportunities at church or your child’s school to ‘adopt’ a needy family. Your young child who loves to help grocery shop and cook can help prepare a meal to donate or can have fun using the part of her allowance set aside for charity to shop for toys for a needy child or homeless pets. Another fun opportunity for young kids is creating art work and cards for nursing home residents who do not have anyone visiting them on a regular basis.
As your child approaches the teen years, there will be more opportunities available to her. Identify organizations that may have opportunities that match your child’s interests and visit the organization’s website to gather information about how to apply for them. Many organizations require a background check and a volunteer orientation. Some may even require you and your child to interview for a volunteer position.
Feeding the Valley Food Bank |6744 Flat Rock Rd, Midland, GA
- Third Saturday of the month, Mobile pantry needs help packing meals. Any age with parent.
- Monday-Thursday 8AM-5PM volunteer opportunities are available for ages 13+.’
- Start a food drive with family & friends
Ronald Mcdonald House | 1959 Hamilton Road, Columbus GA
- House Helpers: Opportunities are available for middle school and elementary aged children with parental supervision. These tasks include but are not limited to; greeting visitors, answering phones, performing daily house tasks and assisting with events.
- Yellow Shoe Crew: Teen volunteer opportunities to advocate for RMH all school year. Must apply.
- Pop tab collections: Any age can participate in collecting tabs from soda cans and donating them to RMH.
- Meals from the heart: Children over 9 years of age accompanied by an adult can cook meals for families staying at RMH.
- Casserole Club: Families can prepare 9×13 casserole meals to freeze for guests staying at RMH. Please use disposable, oven-safe containers.
House of Heroes | 1225 Webster Ave, Columbus, GA
- Yard work for younger kids, high school age mentor woodworking, etc., painting, replacing shingles.
- 1 adult per two children.
- Volunteer Hub
Salvation Army | 5201 Warm Springs Road Columbus, GA
- Bell ringing (with parent) competition between schools/groups/service organizations
Contact: Cpt Josh., 7065619026
- Serve meals at the homeless shelter every evening (with parent)
Contact: Rev Mike, 7063270275
- Family store, sort clothing and items (with parent)
Contact: Miss Audrey, 7063220482
Keep Columbus Beautiful | 8001 Pine Grove Way, Columbus, Georgia
Contact: 706 – 225 – 4008
- Encourage students/young adults conduct a clean-up, KCB provides supplies (grabbers, bags, gloves)
- Park, neighborhood etc.
- Conducts clean ups every-so-often
- 706 – 225 – 4008 KCBC1987@columbusga.org AVA/ GLORIA
- Posts child’s photo on Facebook for positive reinforcement
Animal Ark | 7133 Sacerdote Ln, Columbus, GA
- Make enrichment toys for the dogs
- Organize and Host a Car Wash
- Read to our cats in the Cat Room
- Organize A Dog/Cat Food Drive
Paws Humane | 4900 Milgen Rd, Columbus, GA
- Start a donation drive
Oxbow Meadows | 3535 S Lumpkin Rd, Columbus, GA
- Children from 12-14 can volunteer with parental supervision.
Piedmont Columbus Hospital | 710 Center Street, Columbus, GA
- Piedmont offers a summer volunteer program for teens 14-18 years old. Applications are released in January and registration is due before March 1.