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Branching out into the community
Community groups are an ideal way to introduce the act of volunteering to your child and most communities play host to various charities or groups that rely heavily on volunteers including foods
banks, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and senior's homes. One of the most important aspects to successfully introduce volunteering to your child is to make it a family initiative and
get involved yourself.
A simple start is to put together a food box for your local food bank and bring your child with you to the drop off centre. Often, children who have never been touched by poverty or homelessness
are unable to grasp the concept that some families are in need of food; through a child's eyes food is readily available at the local grocery store. When a child participates in the entire
cycle, they are able to form a correlation between the gathering and packing of the food and the end user.
Many food banks need more volunteers during the Christmas season to help sort food received from the holiday food drive; this act can be especially gratifying when a child realizes the part in
which they contributed to the processing of donated food for the less fortunate.
Volunteer year round
Although it is often perceived the need for volunteerism is greater during the holidays, poverty and homelessness never goes away so consider making volunteering a part of your family life by
setting aside an hour or two each month to volunteer and get the whole family involved.
Many worthy organizations are always recruiting volunteers to contribute to their causes:
- Habitat for Humanity builds houses for families in need and has volunteer programs specifically design for children and teens. Volunteer opportunities are available across North America.
- Free the Children helps children, families and villages across the world and offers volunteer programs for children, teens and family kits.
- The American Red Cross recruits youth to help organize fundraising at the high school level, train in disaster response, healthy and safety services and many more.
An early start in volunteering teaches children and youth that they can make a difference through their actions and often equates to a lifetime of giving of oneself.
For more on teaching kids to give: