Volunteer Video | Cincinnati Children's
How and Why Your Child Should Start Volunteering
The rewards young volunteers reap are often as great as the ones they give to others. According to Peter Levine, who directs the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning at Tufts University, kids who volunteer are more successful in school and more likely to graduate from high school and college. This may be because most service opportunities teach kids essential school – and life – skills like “Long-range planning, working in groups, interacting with people who are different from yourself, and defining and solving complex problems.” Kids who volunteer are also challenged to figure out how to manage their own time and are empowered to do something to right wrongs. Kids see and hear about terrible things – natural disasters, disease, poverty – and giving them an outlet to help others in need reminds them that they can make a difference. Make volunteering a family effort when possible, especially for younger children who need support in a strange environment. Levine notes, “Most volunteering opportunities – especially ones that are well organized – are managed by institutions, such as churches and other religious congregations, schools, libraries, unions, and fraternal associations.” He recommends starting with organizations you may already have a connection to, and to be sure to follow your child’s interests, like the environment, animals, and issues in the news. National organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Keep America Beautiful, or the American Red Cross also often have local efforts and established volunteer networks. Choose a place that’s used to kid volunteers since the experience is as important as the result. Thirteen-year-old Riley, who volunteers for Alex’s Lemonade Stand, first got involved when a friend was diagnosed with cancer and now swears that he won’t stop “Until there’s a cure.” In four years, he’s grown his efforts to involve several members of his community and most recently raised $40,000 for children’s cancer research in one event. It’s apparent when speaking to Alex and his mother that it’s not just his fundraising abilities that have grown through his volunteer work. His mother notes that volunteering “Gives him a different depth as a person” and this is clear in his straightforward explanation of why we should all get involved: “Kids should volunteer because there are other kids who really need them.” I wondered if his mother thought this was too much of an emotional strain on kids, but she soon corrected this assumption: “We don’t give them the credibility they deserve – it’s empowering. As a parent I’m grateful that all the energy he gets from the turmoil of seeing his friends go through this is channeled into his volunteer work.”
12 Places Kids Can Volunteer in New Jersey ~ Jersey Family Fun
Why is volunteering as a family so important? It brings your family together working as a team to help complete a goal. Tips for choosing a Family Volunteer Project with kids Have a family meeting to discuss what is important to each of you and lay out a game plan. Contact an organization you know or one from our list of places kids can volunteer in New Jersey to get started. The Community Food Bank of New Jersey welcomes volunteers ages 12 and older, by appointment. Volunteer Opportunities for Kids in Middlesex County, NJ Elijah’s Promise – New Brunswick, NJ. Elijah’s Promise operates a community soup kitchen, pay as you go café and connects low-income families to health and social services. Volunteer Opportunities for Kids in Monmouth County, NJ Second Life Bikes – Asbury Park, NJ. Second Life Bikes goal is to provide youth with positive opportunities and recreational activities through bicycling. 8 More ways kids can volunteer Visit your local food bank. Algrant, herself the parent of two teenagers, continued: “While they enjoy the self-satisfaction of doing good, kids who volunteer build up their self-esteem. They learn new skills and teamwork, they network, and they get a front seat to see how organizations operate. It’s no wonder that studies show that they do better in school.” You may have an agency like the Bergen Volunteer Center, which matches prospective volunteers with agencies that need help in and around Bergen County, NJ. Volunteers can go to its website, bergenvolunteers.org, to search its extensive database of volunteer opportunities filtered by volunteer age, location, date and more. 5 Easy Volunteer Ideas for Kids Ages 5 & Up Easy Volunteer Ideas for Kids Ages 5 and older Mail to the military: Deployed troops love to receive mail! From drawing a picture, to hand-writing letters, to putting together SOS boxes that include items like gum and books, families and children of any age can contribute to the morale of those protecting our nation, a great family service project to honor a beloved veteran on his anniversary. GOOD FOR SUPERVISED GROUPS OR FAMILIES. AGES 5+. Easy Volunteer Ideas for Tweens and Teens Social Media Helper: Computer users who are older, disabled, or otherwise isolated can discover a new world by connecting with relatives, friends and like-minded contacts using social media. Do you know a place kids can volunteer in New Jersey? Let us know so we can add it to our list.