By Kimberly Paulk, SHARECharlotte.com, a free, easy and local website that makes it easy to learn about and engage with our local nonprofits.
We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future. ~Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Three things parents need to know about volunteering:
You can still involve your kids even if they’re very young. When your kids are little your volunteer options might feel limited. But with a little creativity there are a lot of great ways to get them involved. Little ones can help you shop for canned goods for Loaves and Fishes, or make cards to drop off or hand deliver to residents of a nearby nursing home. Kids age 6 and up can even go along (with their parents or guardians) during Pet Visits with Hands On Charlotte.
They’ll get a lot more out of the experience if you explain it in their terms. Really young kids need to relate giving to something that has meaning for them.. If you’re donating gloves to Hands N Feet Foundation you can talk about how they feel when they have cold hands, and that these gloves will help other people keep their hands warm too. If they love books, they can relate to the many kids in Charlotte who don’t have any and coordinate a collection of gently-used books among their friends for Promising Pages.
Don’t underestimate your kids. We find kids of all ages to be incredibly compassionate and insightful, you just need to find what inspires them! That spark might come from anywhere – from a news item they hear about to a small dog stranded on the side of the street. Wherever your child’s passion is taking her, try to help her follow it. Those are the moments when the concepts of giving and caring will be the most meaningful, and will be most likely to grow into something more.
It does take a little planning, but don’t feel like you need to make a huge commitment. It’s completely fine to volunteer at different places and for different causes until your kids find something they connect with (and the same goes for you too)! Interested in plugging in to some of the opportunities mentioned above? You can get started right here:
Pet Visits with Hands On Charlotte – ages 6 and up are welcome with a parent/guardian
Sort food at the Loaves & Fishes – ages 5 and up are welcome with supervision