Fostering Community for Children Through Volunteerism
Those who volunteer spend an average of 52 hours a year helping out their communities. Volunteering helps you feel good about using your talents for others’ benefit, and it brings a lot of joy to your life. Volunteering can even help you develop new skills or gain experience in a new field.
Volunteering is especially beneficial for children. Young people don’t have the life experiences to understand that different people have challenges and difficulties they haven’t thought about. Encouraging volunteerism in children not only improves our world in the present, but for generations to come as kids pass a legacy of serving others on to their future families.
Here are just a few of the benefits of arranging for your child to volunteer in your community.
It’s easy for any of us to see things only from our own perspectives. We get caught up in the details of daily life and forget that there’s a bigger picture. Children are especially susceptible to this because they simply don’t have a lot of life experience.
When they volunteer, their eyes are opened to the different life experiences people have. It helps young people be grateful for their own blessings and be more compassionate to others.
A higher level of compassion will help your child interact better with their peers, avoid pitfalls like cyberbullying, and give them a better perspective on their future.
When children spend time helping others, they start to understand that they can make a difference. They may even come up with creative ways to solve other problems in the community. It’s empowering to realize that your actions matter and that you can make a difference in the life of others.
A Consistent Routine
Going to school gives most kids a consistent routine five days a week during the school year. However, what about weekends and summer? There’s definitely a benefit to unstructured time, but too much of that can cause boredom.
A consistent volunteering schedule can help your child stay on track even during the summer or shorter school breaks. It gives them a reason to get up in the morning and something to structure their day around.
Just as it’s important for adults to balance work, school, and other activities to be successful, so too is it for kids to do the same. And it’s up to parents and guardians to help them learn to do so. Overscheduling a child too far in one direction and can cause stress, burnout, and lower academic performance.
Done well, consistent volunteering can be something a young person looks forward to and enjoys.
A Sense of Purpose
We all sometimes wake up and wonder, “Is this all there is?” We can get lost in the mundanity of our job, bills, and chores and lose sight of the bigger picture. Children often feel the same way about their daily lives.
When we volunteer, it gives us a sense of purpose. Whether it’s helping with the dogs at the local animal shelter or helping an older friend or family member with spring cleaning and other household chores, we get a lot of satisfaction from making a difference. Help your child create a spring cleaning checklist they can realistically manage to act as mini housekeeper for your friend.
Kids are the same way. They enjoy taking their time and talents and using them for someone else. The smiles, gratitude, and sense of pride a child gets from volunteering can carry them through a tough week at school or other challenges.
There are many services for the less fortunate that wouldn’t be able to operate if it weren’t for volunteers. Knowing that they’re part of what keeps things moving forward is a huge boost for your child’s self-confidence.
A Leg Up for College
Getting into college is more competitive than ever. Most young people plan to go to college, and most jobs require a college degree. However, going to college isn’t as simple as moving to the next grade in school.
In college, you need to know what you want to study. You need to have some idea of your interests and what you want your future to look like. Volunteering can help your child shape those ideas.
Does your child love animals? Volunteering with a local animal shelter can help them decide if they really do want to become a veterinarian. Does nursing call to them? Volunteering at a hospital can help them know what to expect and get them started building compassionate relationships.
On top of that, volunteer experience is something they can discuss on their college applications. It might help your child stand out from other applicants and be selected for admission or even a scholarship.
Volunteering Connects Children with Their Communities
It’s vital that all of us, including our kids, take time to step back from our daily lives and remember that we’re part of a larger community. Volunteering can do that. Volunteering as a family can benefit everyone while building strong relationships and great memories.
Volunteering also helps increase social skills, get practical experience, and gives kids a chance to explore their passions. There’s no reason not to have your child volunteer! Why not find out what they love and see if an organization in your area is looking for help today?