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Volunteer Opportunities For Kids – Easy Ways To Get Your Children Started With Community Service

My family often volunteers together through our church and school, but lately, I’ve been searching for additional volunteer opportunities for kids. I think we have come to a part in our lives where we must not WAIT for convenient requests to come our way and, instead, proactively search for how we can better serve our community together.

Volunteer Opportunities For Kids

I will say that both my church and our school district constantly offer up age-appropriate options for my littles. We ALWAYS jump in because it is easy. A form gets sent home, we sign it, and we are in. If only all of life was like that!

Volunteer Opportunities For Kids

But we are ready to do more and I have a feeling that there are plenty of other people out there feeling the calling as well. Grab a friend, grab an uncle, or grab nobody at all and check out all of the different things a tween can do to help out the people in their neighborhood and beyond using these volunteer opportunities for kids.

how to start volunteering as a family

Where can a child volunteer?

There are many places that are looking for children volunteers. Once your tween gets a bit older, the list of available opps will grow – of course! But being a tween doesn’t mean you’re restricted to just picking up garbage on the beach. Oh and by the way, what an amazing thing to do!

Your young child can raise money by participating in walks, offer up free coaching services to younger children who can’t afford lessons, head to a nursing home and do arts and crafts with the elderly… the list goes on and on.

I am someone who will DO WHATEVER YOU TELL ME. If my church send out a form to volunteer and dress up as Mary – I will be picking out my blue. If they want me to pack 10,000 boxes of food that will get shipped overseas, I am in. If they need me to chaperone a 4-day field trip to an underserved community in another state, guess who is packing her bag?

But I never LOOK for things on my own and I think 2020 has taught me that you cannot just wait for change… you have to become it. Hopefully, this list of volunteer opportunities for kids will be that change for you.

Volunteer Opportunities For Tweens And Young Kids

raise money through virtual walks

Participate In Walks

Raise money from your family and friends by participating in local fun walks all throughout the year. Consider virtual walks if you don’t feel like you live near any place that hosts fundraising walks locally.

A virtual walk is something that everyone does from home and is based on the honor system. You still raise money as you would with a traditional fundraising walk, but then you do the miles on your own. This is a great way for your child to get introduced to the concept of raising money for causes.

volunteer soup kitchen with kids

Donate Time To Your Local Soup Kitchens

As a tween, parents will have to chaperone and you will be so happy that you did because actively participating in a local soup kitchen is a wonderful experience. There are a few different ways a child can get involved – serving the food, cleaning up the trays, greeter, and bathroom attendee. to name a few. Either way, your involvement in the day will be much appreciated!

community service animal shelter

Pet Animals At The Animal Shelters

Did you know that most animal shelters look for people to come and spend time with the animals a few hours a day in a private room? These furry friends need help becoming accustomed to humans.

This means, that your child can sit and pet cats for a few hours which is a HUGE BONUS for animal lovers. And yes, these volunteer opportunities for kids counts as community service hours in case you are here for that.

Write Letters To Vets

I feel like everyone should do this. I mean – adults, too. We should all just write letters to Vets because who wouldn’t want an extra card or two to read these days filled with love and compassion?

If you are looking for a program that will help you connect with heroes, visit Letters For Vets via the Red Cross.

volunteer church

Get Active In The Church

The church is a beacon in my family for so many reasons. It is an absolute reset each week and a way for my children to tangibly understand their connection to God on this Earth. But it also represents community and if you want to better yours, this is a great place to start.

And, by the way, if your church does not do active outreach, consider one of two things: a) stepping up and taking over this division for them b) getting a new church.

{What Vera? I can’t get a new church! Um… yes you can. I switched from Catholic to Lutheran a few years back and the world is literally still spinning.)

coach sports for free

Volunteer To Coach Sports

Is your child an incredible tennis player? Does he/she really know how to kick around a soccer ball? There are probably a lot of children in your neighbhood and beyond that can’t afford lessons and whose parents don’t have a clue what to do out on the field.

What about donating some time to helping younger children learn something that your little knows how to do and LOVE? Here’s the beauty about volunteer opportunities for kids – it doesn’t have to HURT.

Not every volunteer program will require participants to sweep out a spider web-filled basement. Sometimes, it is just kicking a ball with someone who wishes they knew how.

what can kids do to volunteer

Offer Free Educational Lessons

I actually want to extend this concept beyond sports. Does your child know the violin? Do they know how to knit? Are they REALLY good at Fortnite? I don’t care WHAT IT IS – lend your time and your service to those who need it.

This also includes tutoring, of course. Education is something that should be a priority for all families and in a system that is failing some – the community needs to step in and do their part.

Boy Scout / Girl Scouts of America

My two eldest children participated in both the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts growing up and we continuously took part in clothing drives, food drives, town clean ups – etc.

There is a fee associated with membership. So, these volunteer opportunities for kids might not be something that you would want to consider right off the bat, but the monthly meet-ups also gave our children a chance to engage with people from their class. It was a double win for us.

While we are no longer part of either and haven’t been for years, I still felt that it was an easy way to teach my family that volunteering was important.

help the hospital

Hospital Volunteer

You will have to check the age restrictions for each hospital in your region, as I am sure they vary. Becoming a hospital volunteer could be something to consider.

It might not mean actually walking through the patient’s hallway. Instead, what do you think about writing letters to the children who are spending several months away from their family?

Or how about doing a fundraiser for new video games and movies? Better yet, if you know how to knit, consider making little head warmers for the babies in the NICU. You could even put together fun packs filled with printables! There are plenty of things to do for those in the hospital.

host a free library class

Visit The Library

There are several reasons why you should visit the library when looking for volunteer opportunities for tweens. You could ask about programs geared towards younger kids and whether or not they need any assistance. You could see about reshelving books. There are also plenty of listed opportunities for volunteering from other community members going on at all times. You just have to check!

Another option would be to offer to host a class! Again, as mentioned above, is there something you would like to share with the masses for free?

Visit A Nursing Home

My grandmother was placed in a nursing home for a very long time after suffering from a seizure and I am going to be brutally honest with you. It was depressing. Now, we didn’t send her to the most lush place on the planet, but you know what? That’s real life. Most people can’t afford Park Place.

Think about what you could do with one/ two hours a week for people who are alone most of the day. It would really brighten their mood. There are arts and craft activities, BINGO hour, and more. A full schedule. You could help out with these functions or you could just listen and talk. I think most would be so very happy to have someone to just talk to. A new friend.

community service beach clean up

Beach Clean Up / Park Clean Up

Another great option for tweens is to take it upon themselves to grab a bunch of garbage bags and clean up their own streets. If you are heading to the beach, then allow them to spend 20 minutes picking up loose garbage along the way. Imagine what the world would look like if we all did this?

I do want to note, that if you do decide to do this as a family, you must monitor your children and please be sure to buy them something to pick the garbage up with. Do not let them use their hands.

On a recent trip with my daughter, we spent an hour or so cleaning up the outside of a soup kitchen and there were used needles and old condoms all over the floor. We were supplied shovels and pans and were instructed to not touch ANYTHING while wearing gloves. We were instructed to always have safety in mind. This is very important.

While we do our part, it is also important to keep our children safe.

community service

How Should You Choose Your Volunteer Opportunity?

So, how should you choose volunteer opportunities for kids? How will you know what works best for you? I think you have to start with what feels right.

If your child is shy, then maybe steer clear of anything that requires direct contact – handing out food at a soup kitchen or storytime at a nursing home. Instead, she/he might work best doing virtual walks, sending letters to Vets, raising money at home.

There are many different ways to serve our community. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. There is no bar that you have to hit.

Also consider the time commitment for the activity you are signing up for – that is KEY! The last thing you want to do is sign up for this great volunteer opportunity for kids and then miss 3 out of 4 of them.

Age restrictions matter. They really do. So, even if your child is so very desperate to coach his town’s soccer team, if he doesn’t reach the requirement, there is nothing you can do.

And lastly, how much is required of you as a parent? You need to think about that. As a tween, you will need to be an active participant in everything your child does. Are you ready to make this commitment? Don’t be the reason your son/daughter misses things.

Related: 10 Types Of Activism To Engage With Today

volunteer at church

What is the youngest age you can volunteer?

The age limit for volunteer opportunities for kids definitely varies. I cannot say what the youngest age to volunteer is because my 7-year-old has already volunteered several times through my church (but you know, mostly just standing next to me as I volunteer).

Most places are looking for a teen – meaning older than 13/14 years old to come on board as a volunteer. However, tweens are absolutely encouraged to volunteer as long as there is a parent or a guardian present.

I will say that all the volunteer opportunities for kids I’ve ever done through my school has always been drop off only which is a treat. Starting at around the 6th grade, my school has had several opportunities for the children to participate in and we never had to stick around. They are always chaperoned while on school grounds. Perhaps you can look into that as well?

helping others

Where can I volunteer locally?

If you live in the NYC / Long Island region of the country and would like more information about volunteer opportunities for kids, I found some places where you can volunteer locally:

  • New York Cares – New York Cares is a nonprofit organization focused on volunteer management and was founded by a group of New York residents in 1987 who wanted to take action against social issues in New York City.
  • LI Cares – Founded by the late Harry Chapin, Long Island Cares brings together all available resources for the benefit of the hungry and food insecure on Long Island and, to the best of our ability, provides for the humanitarian needs of our community. 
  • The INN – As a not-for-profit, volunteer-based organization, The INN provides a broad variety of essential services to assist those challenged by hunger, homelessness, and profound poverty.
  • City Harvest – City Harvest helped start the food rescue movement in 1982 when a group of New Yorkers saw that New York City had an abundance of excess food even while a large number of its residents struggled to feed themselves and their families.
  • Food Bank for New York City – Food Bank For New York City has been working to end food poverty in our five boroughs for over 35 years. As the city’s largest hunger-relief organization, we employ a multifaceted approach centered on helping low-income New Yorkers overcome their circumstances and achieve greater independence.
  • No Kid Hungry – When you become part of No Kid Hungry, you’re joining a movement of teachers, chefs, community leaders, parents, lawmakers and CEOs with a shared belief: no kid in America should go hungry.
tween community service

I hope these community service volunteer opportunities for kids set you on the right path. There is so much work to do and sometimes that can actually stop us in our tracks. Instead, take one day and one idea and do that. Rinse. Repeat next week.

Whether your child is in elementary school, middle school, or high school one thing is clear – finding opportunities is easier than you think. There are service projects around every corner – you just have to look.

To find volunteer work, you just have to start asking around and see how your friends are serving others. That is a huge first step! There are food pantry opps all over the United States. If you don’t know where to begin, I would start with that search.

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