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Children of any ages can, and should, be encouraged to participate in community service in some capacity. Whether they volunteer at a local senior center or collect canned goods for their local food bank, community service gives kids responsibility and a chance to make a positive change in the community around them.

Starting Out

Decide whether or not you want a long-term, occasional, or one-time only commitment. Maybe you want to have you and your volunteering on a weekly basis at a nursing home or delivering dinner to a group once a month. Other projects like cleaning up trash and walking in a fundraising race are also worthwhile for children. Sites like VolunteerMatch can help link you and your child with a local organization that has a need. Another way to go about it is to call the organizations and speak to a volunteer coordinator. They’ll be more than happy to share with you the different areas in their center that need additional help.

Keep It Going

Even if you decide to give back on a one-time only basis, it’s still a great idea to keep an eye out for other community service events in your area and keep thinking of ways you and your kids can help out. If you do decide on a long-term commitment project, keep yourself and your child motivated by pointing out all the help they’re providing someone who needs it. It also may be a good idea to create a few goals for you and your child for this volunteer program.

One Time Only

  1. Collect items for homeless care packages then drive around and hand them out to the homeless on the streets of your town or city.
  2. Make cards for seniors for any upcoming holiday.
  3. If your children has a musical talent, encourage him or her to perform a few songs at a senior center.
  4. Ask them how they would like to help out and see if there is an upcoming event that you both could volunteer at.
  5. Help your child box up some of his or her belongings to give away to a homeless shelter.

Short-Term Commitment

  1. Volunteer to hand out food for a lunch or dinner service at the local shelter 1 or 2 times per month.
  2. Have everyone in your family add their loose change to a jar. At the end of the year, donate all of the money to a charity.
  3. Start a community garden.

Whatever you and your child decide to volunteer for, it will be a worthwhile use of your time and a life skill that your child will always carry with them.