by Kevin Stuckey, M.Ed., CCC-SLP
Volunteering is an activity in which people help others by giving their time and
service to a certain cause. Volunteers work without the expectation of payment or
reimbursement. The goal of volunteer work is to benefit others in the community
or society as a whole. There are many ways that people of all ages and abilities
can be active in volunteer work. Children can participate in a variety of volunteer
activities and gain valuable life experiences while helping others. When deciding
where and how to volunteer, talk with your children about their interests and ideas
for giving back. Some volunteering opportunities for children can include simple,
helpful activities in the local community, whereas other activities can take place
on a much larger scale, such as volunteer work with a national organization.
What Benefits Can a Child Receive from Volunteering?
There are many benefits of volunteering. With such a variety of volunteer opportunities,
children can have new experiences and exciting challenges. Children can improve
their social skills by working with others and learning how to better communicate,
as well as learning to respect the ideas of others. Children can also increase their
self-confidence by performing tasks successfully. They can take pride in themselves
by experiencing the positive effects of their volunteer work for the betterment
of their community, school, or even family. Children can realize that with a little
effort, they can make a difference. Participating in volunteer activities alongside
a supportive parent who shows a positive attitude can help children learn about
a good work ethic as well.
Ways for Children to Volunteer
Children have the opportunity to participate in different volunteering efforts that
take place in many locations. They could spend time volunteering at local hospitals,
libraries, animal shelters, parks, or schools, to name a few places. Volunteering
should be a fun and rewarding experience for children.
Some ways children can volunteer include:
- Helping with an organized event such as a local carnival or fair.
- Raising money for a fund-raiser for a special cause.
- Helping with the cleanup of the grounds or nature trail at school.
- Planting trees in local parks to help the environment.
- Collecting food and supplies for charity groups.
- Serving meals to the elderly.
- Donating clothing, toys, furniture, etc.
- Helping others learn to read.
- Providing services in the neighborhood, such as shoveling snow, raking leaves, or
- Helping clean kennels at an animal shelter.