Learning compassion is a key cornerstone to being a good citizen. One way to learn compassion at an early age is by serving the community as a volunteer. Every child can benefit from volunteering, but fitting community service into an already jam-packed schedule is not easy. To that end, we offer the following simple volunteering methods for you and your children to step up and help others.
Most children adore animals and are more than happy to play with cats in a shelter, walk dogs, or volunteer at pet health clinics. Shelters run off altruism, and every pair of hands is needed to ensure these future pets are properly cared for. This is a great way to introduce children to volunteering, especially if they’re shy around other people.
Old toys, new owners
Have your child clean out all toys no longer used and donate the gently-used toys to a community center. Police departments often accept stuffed animals for children when they must be removed from one or both parents for safety reasons. Gather up unused crayons or school supplies for the local homeless shelter. Just because your child no longer wants these items does not mean they can’t bring joy to others.
Make your pantry a food pantry
Take a look in your kitchen pantry. Do you have nonperishable goods you purchased but have not used? Box them up and take them to a food pantry, and stop by the grocery store to add a few more items to create a complete meal. Food pantries may also appreciate it if you include a can opener or utensils. Bringing your child along for the journey will help them see how these donations can help others in need.
Every nursing home appreciates handwritten notes and cards with simple sentiments, and including a few pairs of fuzzy warm socks will also be welcomed. Fold a piece of cardstock in half, and have your child add stickers, stamps, illustrations, and any other crafty ideas to brighten the day of an elderly citizen. The nursing staff will be so thankful, you will feel like creating little works of art frequently for them. You can also write “get well” cards for any patients who are hospitalized, regardless if you know them or not.
Clean up after yourselves and others
After playing at a local park or playground, have your children take 10 minutes to pick up any litter around the grounds. Bring small vinyl or latex gloves for them to wear as they handle waste material, and be sure to include a small bag for everyone so nobody is walking around with garbage in their hands. Building this gesture in as a standard task after play encourages not only your children to pick up any litter they see, but it will cause a chain reaction as other children playing nearby will pick up after they leave any park or playground as well.
At Lake Forrest Prep, we encourage students to be conscientious and caring while volunteering. Talk to us today about how we are creating better citizens one student at a time by calling 407 331-5144.