Want to teach your kids the value of caring for the local community? Especially those community members who can’t care as well for themselves? Here are 20 practical suggestions for what they can do:
1.Visit kids sick at the hospital. This is a wonderful gesture during the holidays or school breaks where everyone else is having fun. Of course, during COVID-19, this might not be a reality. In that case, your kids can make them cards that can be delivered to them instead.
2. Donate clothing and food to a homeless shelter. This will teach your kids the value of giving to those much less fortunate than themselves.
3. Help senior citizens learn to use technology. Kids can help them learn how to search the internet, send emails and navigate their smartphones so they can better communicate with family and friends.
4. Offer to help paint a less well-maintained house in the neighborhood. There’s always that one house that could use some sprucing up. This would be a great group project for a a few kids and their parents.
5. Help coach a sports team with younger kids. This can be any sport they are good at or just like playing.
6. Assist senior citizens with everyday tasks. This could be helping them with their groceries or running errands around town.
7. Volunteer at the library. Ask the library if they need tutors for younger kids in reading, writing, and basic math.
8. Volunteer for a clean-up day at a park. It’s needed in many places and a lot of fun too.
9. Help out at a local charity or food pantry. Food pantries and similar charities rely on volunteers and can always use another helping hand. Make sure to check any COVID-19 regulations put in place by the organization.
10. Visit the residents at a nursing home or assisted living facility. Many residents get less visits from family and friends than most people realize. Like with kids in hospitals, this may not be a reality right now due to the pandemic, so you can make and send cards to them instead.
11. Organize a back-to-school supplies drive. This would be very helpful for kids whose families have fallen on hard times.
12. Contact a school to see if they need a homework tutor for an after-school program. Sometimes, kids can explain things to other kids in a way that’s more relatable and makes more sense than adults.
13. Help care for animals at an animal shelter. There’s nothing like giving a little love to an abandoned dog or cat.
14. Organize a community get-together at the community center. This could be a movie screening, a dance, or a group activity that encourages collaboration and bonding.
15. Donate books. This can include textbooks and test prep manuals to local schools.
16. Walk your neighbor’s dogs. This would really help out your neighbors who are injured, sick or otherwise unable to exercise their pets with daily outdoor walks.
17. Help out at a community garden. This could be planting flowers, vegetables, weeding, watering or just helping with upkeep and maintenance.
18. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Many people do this at Thanksgiving or during the holidays, but the need is there all year-round.
19. Read books or newspapers to the visually impaired.
20. Help senior citizens with seasonal tasks. This could be raking leaves in the fall, shoveling snow in the winter, or mowing the grass in the summer.
Tanni Haas, Ph.D., is a guest contributing writer and professor in the Department of Communication Arts, Sciences, and Disorders at the City University of New York – Brooklyn College.
Image courtesy of iStock.