Getting kids involved in voluntary work is a great way of them learning new skills, widening their interests and getting them interested in helping other people. But what sorts of voluntary work can kids get involved in and what could they gain from the experience?
There are a wide variety of charities and non-profit organisations in the UK who rely on help from volunteers to help keep their services running and costs down.
Volunteers are of all ages and it’s something that kids can get involved in too, either with their parents, in conjunction with schools, groups they belong to (e.g, Scouts or Guides) or on their own steam.
Voluntary opportunities are wide ranging, from practical tasks, to fundraising, computer skills, manual tasks or even simply talking to people.
They can be crafty, sporty, environmental or technological, involve working with children or adults, groups of people or individuals – you name it, and there’s probably an organisation out there wanting some help.
Giving up their time to help other people might not initially seem appealing to kids, but often when they’ve tried it once or twice, they realise how rewarding and enjoyable it can be.
Not only do they get to meet new people and try new tasks, but there’s also the ‘feel good’ feeling that they’re doing something beneficial to help other people.
Volunteering can be done at weekends, in school holidays or sometimes in an evening, and many opportunities are flexible and work around your kid’s responsibilities and homework.
How Can Kids Volunteer?
If your kids are showing signs of eagerness to do voluntary work, then definitely bite the bullet and encourage them to find something suitable. To start with, and depending on their age, it might just be something small scale and local, like helping an elderly neighbour mow their lawn or do their shopping.
There are often appeals from charities and non-profit organisations featured in local newspapers or on TV, asking for extra help at events or with fundraising initiatives they’re running.
These are always good to get in with, as you know they’re actively looking for volunteers. It’s also something you could do as a family, if it’s a charity or cause you’d all like to support.
Otherwise, one of the main ways of finding volunteering opportunities is to email, phone or call in on local organisations that you’re interested in to see if they could do with any help.
If your child is a bit nervous about doing this, then you could help them – and it’s also a good opportunity for you to suss out the organisation and ensure they won’t be doing anything inappropriate.
Schools are often involved in volunteering opportunities and any kids doing Duke of Edinburgh’s Award schemes, or similar initiatives, may well have to do a volunteering task as part of it.
In fact, schools can play a key part in encouraging children to have a go at being a volunteer and discussing the importance of doing things to help other people.
There are so many different types of volunteering opportunities available and they offer a chance for kids to try something new, use skills they already have, learn new things and, of course, get some valuable experience to add to their CVs.
If it’s not something your child has thought of yet, why not suggest the idea?