Turning Children into Lifelong Volunteers

Posted June 6, 2011

Turning Children into Lifelong Volunteers

In Sunday’s Austin American Statesman, reporter Andrea Ball writes about unique things children do to give back to charities.  She talks about a boy who is raising money for a charity bike ride, a girl who sold Christmas ornaments with pink ribbons on them and several other philanthropic-minded children.  What these kids do is inspirational and very much appreciated.

Children are our future.  They are our future volunteers, our future sponsors, our future givers.  

I think it is such an amazing gift for a parent to introduce their child to charities and the idea of helping others.  Once the seed of giving is planted, children can really blossom.  It is so important for children to contribute to the work of charities and it is especially important for them to see that something they do can make a difference.

Children should be encouraged to give of their talents to help others.  While financial donations are always welcomed by most non-profits, there is a bigger lesson here than just writing a check.  The lesson is teaching a child to be compassionate, caring and understanding.

Now that it’s summer and parents are searching for things to with their children, consider something that will teach them to be a better person – volunteering.  Whether it is making cards or blankets to donate, doing a charity walk or serving meals, everyone can do something.  There are countless people in need, lists of charities to assist and plenty of work to be done, so get started!

Here are a few tips for introducing your child to volunteering:
– Pick an activity that is age appropriate.  If you are doing on-site volunteering, make sure the charity knows the age(s) of the child(ren).

– Make it fun.  What can you do to build a positive experience for your child so they will want to volunteer again.

– Follow their interest.  Is your child into animals?  Contact an animal rescue group.  The outdoors?  There are many outdoor-related charities.  Helping other children?  How about The Settlement Home?  The point is, there is something for everyone.

– Get them involved.  Spend time researching charities online or in person with your child.  Give them the power to help pick where they want to volunteer.

Read the inspiring Statesman article and get started volunteering!