When I look back on my childhood, I realize that I did a lot for myself, but not much for the community. As a parent, I want my children to experience the world around them, and I hope that they will be a thriving member of the community.
This is a process that takes time and understanding, and if your child enjoys it, then it's something worth pursuing.
But how can kids serve the community in a meaningful way?
1. Call Your Local Hospital, Church or Charity
Local outlets should be exhausted first. Parents will want to make calls to the following to see what opportunities exist:
You'll find churches are very helpful sources for serving the community. Even if you're not religious, churches will provide a wealth of information on community service. Pentecostal Life Church, for example, offers Sunday programs for children, but they also offer options to help the local community.
Hospitals, charities and churches always love to get kids involved in the community.
2. Kids Care Clubs
Kids are becoming more involved in the local community, and this involvement means your kids can make meaningful relationships, too. Kids Care Clubs and Teen Service Clubs are available that will provide a comprehensive list of resources for kids in elementary school through their teens.
These clubs all focus on helping the local community, and it also promotes social skills, as kids are able to meet other kids in the community.
There are a lot of different programs available for your kids to take part in. Kid World Citizen has a great list of service projects that your child can start doing today.
3. Nursing Homes
A humbling experience is to volunteer at nursing homes. There are nursing homes in most areas that are more than willing to have kids give back. Kids may be responsible for helping during Bingo night, or they may be asked to spend time with residents.
Your family may even be matched with a resident that you'll interact with often.
This type of relationship is great for helping to get your kids active with the older community.
4. Soup Kitchens and Food Drives
There's a humbling feeling when you're able to help feed someone else. There are a lot of people in your local community that are hungry. And you can have your kid help out in a few ways:
Soup kitchens where you and your child may serve food to the hungry
Food drives where you can help organize donations for the hungry
Volunteering at a soup kitchen is always a great way to get your kid involved in the local community and realize that are people in their own backyards that are hungry. National Alliance to End Homelessness states that 578,000 people were homeless in the United States in January 2014.
Many of these individuals are within your community.
When you teach kids to serve the community, you're teaching them how to:
Make a difference in the community
Fill their time with meaningful activities
You can even get the entire family involved to serve the community and grow together.