Although the development of the personality is an ongoing process, according to expert psychologist, it starts as early as when we are only 4 years old. For this reason, it is of prime importance to focus our children’s attention on true values through their young adult life. Teaching them how to give back to community will not only result in outstanding resumes for their further education, but will also help them develop into more caring and emphatic people.
The “unofficial” volunteer work
It all starts at home. Your child is not only going to pick up what you tell them they should do but also mimics some of your actions. Accept from doing chores around the house on a regular basis, children can, for starters, spread their influence to an entire neighborhood. If they notice that you spend a certain amount of time helping others, they will learn that it is a natural response. Offer to mow your next door neighbor’s lawn, aid them when renovating, or even do grocery shopping for the elderly who are unable to drag tons of bags on their own. These are all just small acts of kindness that commonly do not take up too much of the child’s life. They still have free time to spend however they wish to, while learning that sometimes their personal needs and desires should be put second.
Official community member
Once your child is mature enough to contribute to the community on a more serious scale, you can pitch them with the idea of applying do some creative volunteer work. Many children, although young, have the capacity to help and inspire others. Aside from doing a good deed, they acquire essential skills, such as organization, planning and problem-solving skills that are certain to aid them in their future work life, regardless of the occupation they opt for. They can familiarize themselves in greater detail with how the community agencies and local government work and experience teamwork and collaboration at such young age.
The ones who raised us
Volunteering in the local retirement home or home care center will get the child the opportunity to give back to those who helped shape the world we live in today. Elderly who are unable to take care of themselves certainly require professional help from an educated nurse. Nevertheless, it’s not just having someone helping you in a medical way, but also having someone to talk to and hang out with. Whether your young one visits them to play cards, Yahtzee, chess or just listen to their stories, it will certainly make their day.
Another great place for beginner volunteers is a community kitchen for poor. More than 30 million children and adults in the US alone live in households facing food insecurity. Your child can either serve food or be responsible for the very preparation of the food. Aside from these two main roles, volunteers at the soup kitchen can greet people at the entrance or clean tables and floors. With just their presence your child will make those who are less fortunate feel that they are a part of the bigger community what will ultimately make them feel really proud of themselves for making such great contribution in stranger’s life.
Give what you no longer need
Baby clothes, toys and many other thigs we tend to keep in the attic that are no longer a necessity to us are a luxury to others. Your children might consider some things memorabilia and want to keep them, however, other items we should say goodbye to and give to those who are in greater need of them. Old baby clothes, shoes, sheets and toys are surely something you are unlikely to use in the future, but centers like Red Cross, safe houses or homes for children without parental care will welcome you with your hands wide open.
In addition to donation, your children can offer to volunteer and organize local events in order to draw the attention of greater public. Although they are only teenagers, their actions are influencing people on a much larger scale. They are bound to gather sufficient knowledge and experience while volunteering as children and can later implement and manage any future charity events themselves. With the skills acquired over the years they will know how to approach people and interest them in helping community themselves.
Different events and experiences, but also the way you interpret and process them is precisely what shapes an individual. By opting for volunteer work at an early age, children learn kindness, empathy, respect and above all, responsibility. Although many find themselves short of free time, at the end of the day the rewards of doing any kind of volunteer work will definitely be worth it.