Get Kids Involved: New Ideas for Youth Volunteering
What comes to mind when you think of youth and volunteering? Perhaps it is traditional activities like serving food at a local homeless shelter, participating in a charity walk or community activities with the Boy and Girl Scouts. The aforementioned activities are great, but there are lots of alternative ways to get the kids involved in volunteering this summer.
I recently had the opportunity to interview Simone Bernstein, the Co-founder of Volunteer Nation. She started the nonprofit with her younger brother to help youth connect with volunteer opportunities across the country.
Simone talked about the growing number of virtual opportunities for youth to get involved in volunteerism. With many kids being passionate about technology, it is a great way for nonprofits to enhance or expand upon their social media strategy. Organizations could have youth volunteers spread helpful information and promote charity events via Twitter or Facebook or research other groups to follow, all with the thought of building the organization’s social media presence.
Teenagers and kids can also volunteer with their family. They can lead and organize a service project (such as a food, clothing or sporting-goods drive) in their local communities and schools. If kids can’t find a particular volunteer opportunity that appeals to them, then take action and help them create their own project. Planning and executing their own volunteer activities will help them develop leadership and organization skills along with a commitment to a cause. Some online resources for finding youth volunteerism opportunities that Simone recommends are GenerationOn.org (part of Points of Light) and DoSomething.org.
In doing more research on some alternative ideas for youth to volunteer, I found an article about 40 Ways for Kids to Volunteer. Here are five out-of-the-box ideas to jump start kids volunteering:
- Tutor a student who needs help learning English or another subject
- Help a pet shelter by walking dogs or playing with cats
- Collect unused make-up, perfume and other cosmetics for distribution to low-income women
- Hold a stuffed animal drive to benefit a local nonprofit
- Baby sit to help a single parent
Thanks for reading my post and please add a comment below if you would like to share other creative ways to get kids involved with volunteering. If you have other helpful national resources, feel free to share them as well. So, until next time, take action and volunteer your heart out!