As parents and nannies we teach our kids how to ride bikes, how to be polite, and how to read and write. But how often do we teach them the importance of giving back to the community?
According to the United Way, research shows that kids not only have fun while volunteering, but volunteering also enhances development, promotes a healthy lifestyle, and teaches social responsibility.
Luckily, volunteer opportunities aren’t hard to find, and most are welcoming to all ages of children.
Here are some ways you and the kids can give back to the community:
• Adopt a Park: There are municipal programs for the adoption of stretches of highway or parks, but you don’t have to get involved on an official level. You can unofficially adopt part of your child’s favorite playground, and then make a commitment to clean up the area. Your child will learn how to take pride in his/her favorite place, and together you’ll be making the park a cleaner, better place.
• Make and Deliver Greeting Cards: As a family, choose a local nursing home/food pantry/women’s shelter, and sit down together to create cards for the holiday you choose. Once you’ve made the cards, most organizations will welcome you and your children to their establishment to hand out the cards to its residents. This is a great activity to do with children because they love arts-n-crafts, and there is always a holiday or event where people want to receive cards. Plus, it teaches them that a simple act of kindness is always appreciated.
• Collect Materials and Donate to a Shelter: Shelters are always needing and wanting materials and volunteers. With your children, pick a shelter nearby and contact them to see what they need. After you decide, you and your kids can find items in your house or at a local store to donate.
To find more volunteer opportunities specific to your community, check your local newspaper, look for ads posted in shopping centers, or contact an organization you are passionate about helping to see how you can help them.
One organization that is important to us at TLC is Autism Speaks. TLC for Kids is happy to be joining the St. Louis Autism Awareness Walk this fall. Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org If you are interested in walking with us on October 11th!