If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that hardships can fall on anyone. Volunteering can be a great way for your child to become adults to constantly look for ways to give back to their communities. At Lake Forrest Prep, we include volunteer opportunities in our curriculum, from recycling to food drives. But we also want to encourage parents to foster this sense of volunteering in their homes, as well.
Before we get into ideas for your kids, here are some easy ways to start talking about volunteering more:
Teach them to focus on good acts rather than “big V volunteering”.
Putting in the effort starts with a charitable heart rather than the size and scope of what someone does. Remind your kids (and yourself) that small acts of kindness can make a world of difference to one person, and those aren’t any less important than joining a major volunteering effort. By encouraging your kids to look for small ways to consistently help others, they’ll be more excited to volunteer when a larger opportunity arises.
Look for where areas of interest and volunteering overlap.
Kids are more likely to be involved in something they already find interesting. If they love dogs, volunteering at the local animal shelter will sound like a dream come true. If they’re fans of books, helping out with a book drive at school will pique their interest. Show your child that there’s always something they can contribute to, no matter what they find cool.
Ideas for younger kids:
- Donate to a toy drive. Toy drives are a great way to teach your kids that they don’t have to throw away toys they never really play with. Better yet, go to the store and have your child pick out a toy they think another kid would love to have!
- Clear out the pantry for canned goods. Give your child a “list” to go “grocery shopping” in your pantry, and have them pull out excess canned goods for a local food bank.
- Start a coin collection for a local animal shelter. This project teaches your kids the value of giving back and of saving money! Due to COVID, most shelters are cautious about opening up in-person volunteer opportunities, so donating is a great way to help take care of rescued animals or those awaiting their fur-ever homes.
- Write get-well cards to deliver to your local children’s hospital. Allow your child to get creative and have them design cards they think would inspire other kids who are sick or struggling with health issues. Or, for a broader impact, have your child put a nice phrase on a half-sheet of paper to give out nice messages to more kids.
Ideas for older kids:
- Consider donating to Wigs for Kids or other hair loss organizations for children. This is perfect for middle schoolers who aren’t afraid of drastic change! Hair donation helps kids who’ve lost their hair through any number of reasons find a sense of normalcy thanks to wigs, especially if they can’t grow their hair back. Plus, your kid will have an amazing story to tell next time someone asks them “did you get a haircut?”
- Volunteer at a food bank as a family. From sorting to packing, food banks sift through a high-volume of food each day. If you have older kids who love hands-on projects, call your local food bank and see if they have availability for your family to help out.
- Create care packages for overseas soldiers. If your family knows someone in the military, you can put together a care package for that service member while they’re deployed. Ensure everything is properly sealed, and that you don’t pack anything perishable. For more information on sending a care package to the military, check out this reference sheet here.
At Lake Forrest Prep, a leading private school in Orlando, we encourage giving back to the community both in and out of school hours. Our mission is to help each child reach his or her greatest potential as a responsible, productive and capable individual. If you’re looking for a place where your child can be more than just academically challenged, discover how LFP can create a well-rounded education.