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Volunteering With Kids

It’s not easy to get young kids engaged in the idea of volunteerism and giving back to the community. But just because it isn’t easy doesn’t mean it’s not worth it.

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Two recent examples: First, in recognition of National Family Volunteer Day, Bright Horizons partnered with The Volunteer Family to put on family volunteer days at a few centers. The activities were geared to children age 6 and younger. They baked dog biscuits for the puppy pound, made bags of play dough for kids in a homeless shelter, and made birthday cards and crowns for two organizations that provide gifts and parties for children in need on their birthdays, Smiling Kids and Birthday Wishes.

I found it a bit challenging to answer some of my kids’ questions about what we were doing, which got all of us thinking. (When I said we were putting play dough in bags for kids who don’t have toys, they asked why the kids didn’t have toys. When I said they didn’t have money for toys, my kids asked why we didn’t put money in the bags instead.)

Second, we have just started a new club at my son’s elementary school to get kids engaged in philanthropy. The club, Kids with a Cause, has had a huge turnout, with 75 kids signing up in the first couple of weeks. The first week the kids learned about the difference between “need” and “want,” and made signs for a school-wide coat drive.

I’m glad that my kids’ child care center and elementary school have moved beyond sports, music, and the other traditional “extracurriculars” to incorporate doing good. After all, if we get kids excited and engaged about a making a difference at a young age, aren’t they more likely to continue to give back when they get older?

One comment

  1. rachel December 4, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Giving back to the community is so important — and a great way for families to spend time together. Check out Doing Good Together (www.doinggoodtogether.org). This organization is an excellent resource for those who are interested in finding family-friendly service opportunities and they focus on the reflection and education piece of volunteering with kids as well.

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