Teaching your child or teen the value of volunteering will be rewarding for both them as well as the community. Inspire social responsibility in your child with these volunteering ideas.
As early as preschool, children are asked to help out their teachers. This call for volunteerism is only the beginning of volunteer options for children within their own school. As children grow, so do the options, with opportunities such as these:
- Teacher’s helper. A few of the tasks a helper might handle are cutting, photocopying and errands within the school, such as retrieving hot lunches.
- School patrols. Volunteers are responsible for the safety of pedestrians at school crosswalks.
- Student council. Some positions may require a vote to be filled, but generally the student council needs several volunteers to represent the student body as well as to help with events, such as orientation, carnivals, fundraising and dances.
Programs to work with younger children
In the community as well as the school system, several volunteer positions exist for someone who enjoys working with younger children. Here are just a few:
- Summer day camps through the local recreation centre. As a helper to the leader, a volunteer will aid in child care, crafts, sports and other hands-on tasks.
- On-call community volunteer. Volunteers attend special events, such as festivals and parades, to help with face painting, crafts tables and other kid-friendly booths.
- Literacy programs, both in school and the community. An older child acts as a reading buddy for a younger or struggling reader.
For the love of animals
While some volunteer options for the animal lover may have age restrictions, a broad range of opportunities may be open to volunteers of any age, such as these:
- Fundraising. Organizing a fundraiser for a local animal shelter can be done by a volunteer of almost any age — with parental supervision, of course. A lemonade stand, car wash or bake sale are all great ideas.
- A volunteer program at the zoo. Zoo programs will vary from place to place, but in general, they require volunteers to interact with visitors and help with special events.
- A local humane society or animal shelter. Volunteers may be required to help socialize smaller animals, such as bunnies or cats, and help keep the facility organized and tidy.
For the social activist
A teen who would like to make positive changes in regards to personal rights and social consciousness may be interested in these volunteer ideas:
- Youth mentorship. Such programs are an opportunity to offer information and guidance to a newly immigrated teen.
- Friendship visits. Volunteers offer support and friendship to individuals placed in long-term hospital care.
- Fundraising and awareness campaigns. This is an opportunity for your teen to volunteer for a cause they feel passionate about.
The outdoor enthusiast
Here are a few ideas for the teen volunteer who wants to help make an impact in the outdoor world:
- Community cleanup. Join the community for a day of cleanup of a public park or other outdoor area. If the community doesn’t offer such a day, a volunteer might be interested in organizing one.
- Volunteer gardeners. Many communities have gardens and outdoor spaces that are manned strictly by volunteers.
- Tree planting. There are organizations across Canada that make tree planting an event or priority and rely on volunteers to make it happen.