Getting kids involved in volunteerism is good for them. Being involved in philanthropy by donating time and/or money gives children a new perspective, and builds self-esteem and resiliency, according to a survey done by America’s Teenage Volunteers. Some studies show it could even be a deterrent to drug, alcohol and cigarette use as children grow.
“It really expands their horizons. It’s a great way to teach children to share,” said Clare Garrison, volunteer coordinator for the Delaware State Office of Volunteerism. It helps children start thinking about something other than themselves, gets them involved in positive structured activities and can give them a sense of purpose.
Tips on raising philanthropy minded children.
- Parents model philanthropic behaviors. Kids will do what they see parents doing.
- Involve the children in philanthropic decisions and activities.
- Talk about why it’s important to help others.
But in our busy lives, how can we fit one more good for us thing into our day. Here are some ideas.
6 Ways Kids Can Help
- Spend time with your child by going through their winter clothes from last year. Any item that was lightly used and no longer fits should be placed in a pile to donate to a reputable local clothing drive.
- Donate food to a food pantry. Have your child pick out one item each time you go to the store. When you get a bagful, take it to a local food pantry. (Look online for local food pantries, they usually have lists of items they need.)
- Take your child to the local toy store and have them pick out an item for a less fortunate child. Many programs that work with children, including shelters and mental health centers, accept new toys year-round.
- Teach your child about charities and the services that they provide. Help him find a cause that is meaningful to him and make a donation in his name. If your child receives an allowance, encourage her to donate a portion of her allowance to the charity of her choice.
- Put together activity boxes. If your child is a preschooler, decorate shoe boxes and fill them with a deck of cards, small games, and puzzle books for kids at the local hospital.
- Deliver meals. You and your child can bring both hot food and companionship to homebound people through a local charity food service. mealsonwheelsamerica.org
Kim Hoey Stevenson is a free lance writer in Delaware. She was also recognized as the 2013 Delaware Young Mother of the Year.