There is really no age requirement for volunteering. In fact, the earlier that volunteering begins and continues throughout childhood, the more likely a person is to participate in community activities as an adult. Whether a participant reaches out to one person or a village across the world, he or she has made a significant difference in the life of another. This article presents a few of the many volunteer ideas for different age groups.
1. Volunteer with Pre-school Aged Children
One tip to keep in mind is to tailor the volunteer activity to your child’s personality, abilities, and interests. For example, if your child is very young, volunteer activities that require hours of physical work may not be a good fit. If she loves to be active and would prefer to be outdoors, participating in a park clean-up or riding a tricycle or bicycle in a bike-a-thon might be a fun way for her to help others.
You may also want to consider activities that allow you to volunteer together as a family. Working together as a family to help others is not only a great way to set an example for your child, but it’s also a wonderful way to spend time together and have fun doing something that benefits others.
2. Volunteer with Elementary School Children
Encouraging kids to get involved in the community and volunteering to help those who are less fortunate can cause children to develop a sense of gratitude and self-worth. The value of doing charitable acts for others is terrific, and kids will feel a sense of pride when they know that their actions are making someone else's life happy. Plenty of volunteer opportunities are available for kids, as long as you know where to look! When you begin to teach your kids about giving, talk to your kids to find out what types of activities they are interested in and take their ages and abilities into account.
The Service Learning process and projects that are ultimately selected and accomplished is a great way to implement volunteering for elementary age children.
3. Volunteering for Middle School Students
Raising children who are civically minded isn’t easy. But you can expose your child to volunteerism and encourage your preteen to give back in a number of ways. When kids volunteer, good things happen. By volunteering or by helping others, your child learns valuable life skills, but he also learns how important it is to support organizations he cares about and causes that interest him.
There are many ways your child can make a difference.
There are many ways your child can make a difference.
Start with projects that he or she can incorporate into a preteen’s busy schedule, and then add bigger projects that require more time. You might also want to consider volunteering together. That way you can spend quality time together, and set a great example for your preteen.
One of the great things about raising a preteen is that they are at an age when they can take on more responsibility and even give more to their schools, communities and other organizations. One of the ways tweens can contribute is through service projects. Some middle schools even require that their students give back by participating in community service projects either as a class or on their own.
By participating or volunteering, your child can learn leadership skills, a little about the community in which he lives and even a little about his own interests and passions. He or she may also learn a little more about how organization and support groups operate, and how challenging it can be at times to work through the proper channels to get the job done.
4. Volunteer Ideas for High School Students
In High School, volunteering takes on the potential of a new purpose. Not only does it allow the student to gain insights, be productive and participate within the school and community, it provides a venue for resume building, material for college applications and completes a well-rounded picture for one’s application.
Students in high school are able to accept more challenging volunteer positions and larger group volunteer activities.
5. Volunteer Ideas for College Students
College students fill the void between high school and adulthood in volunteerism. They are capable of adult responsibilities, very large group activities and volunteering through travel, either domestically or internationally. National volunteer efforts such as AmeriCorps or the Peace Corp are also options for college students.
6. Volunteer Ideas for Parents and Families
Modeling volunteering is the best way to get your family involved for a lifetime of volunteering and community service. Always keep the needs of the youngest child in mind, particularly if the adult is otherwise distracted.
Family volunteering allows your family to learn the importance of charity and giving of oneself. It encompasses, perhaps, the broadest area of needs.
7. Older Volunteers
Older volunteers have the time and resources to give freely of their time and talent. Encouraging them to share their skills is a great way to place skilled volunteers in non-profits or agencies where their life skills may be well utilized.
After retirement, however, it is important to know if an older volunteer desires to share their skills or try something completely new and different. A thorough volunteer interview allows for the best potential placement.
Contact the Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley for more information about volunteer placements at (319) 272-2087, email, or visit www.vccv.org.