Written by : Patrick Quinn 

Raising Kids Who Give Back

Now that we’re in the heart of summer—and school vacation—many parents are left wondering how their children can best spend all of this free time. While some opt for camps to fill the summer months, as a parenting expert for Brainly, I think it is the perfect time to get your kids involved in volunteer work. Here are six volunteer ideas to help your kids add a little more purpose to their lives this summer.

Identify Your Kid’s Interests Before Deciding on Any Activity

If your child is not interested in sports, volunteering with the Special Olympics will most likely be a flop. On the other hand, if your kid loves art, volunteering for a local museum may be a great match. Focus on what your kid loves, and then use that to find philanthropic inspiration. After all, you do want your child to enjoy giving back so that he or she continues with the charity throughout adulthood!

Match the Activity with your Child’s Age

While volunteering positions offer a fantastic foray into the worlds of both philanthropy and work for teenagers that are middle school- and high school-age, there are countless ways for younger children to give back. The developmental importance of more elementary philanthropic activities should not be underestimated. Start off your young kids with fun, age-appropriate activities. Think of charitable day camps or even simple at-home activities like going through a kid’s possessions and deciding what they would like to donate. Opening a dialogue on privilege and disadvantage, especially among other children, is vital for helping your children cultivate a benevolent attitude.

Consider Collaborating with Your Kids

You don’t want your child to feel overwhelmed, or else they may grow to resent philanthropic work. Instead, choose an altruistic activity that can be used as a means of spending time together so that you can bond, work together, and give back all with the same project. This way, your kid can feel proud to be part of something bigger than he or she could accomplish alone. Such an endeavor may look like a toy or food drive, where you and your child can gather toys from your community in order to donate them to less privileged children.

Explore Opportunities that are Educational in Nature 

Volunteering gives kids a sense of purpose and teaches valuable skills, and it can also help them reinforce knowledge and enhance their academics. You and your child can opt to volunteer virtually, adhering to CDC guidelines and staying out of COVID-19’s way. For example, by becoming a virtual volunteer on a peer-to-peer learning community such as Brainly, volunteers build lasting relationships, get access to special tools, features, events, and contests, and gain recognition across the broader Brainly community. There are various volunteer tasks and responsibilities that students can choose from based on their personal preferences and unique skills. Whether that’s welcoming newcomers, sharing tips and tricks on creating a great question or answer, or sharing feedback on Brainly features – their contributions help the Brainly community thrive and grow each and every day. Teenagers and high schoolers can also earn the prestigious title of being a certified moderator on the world’s largest online learning community, which looks great on college applications or resumes. 

Emphasize Togetherness

Whether your kid is more interested in spending time with friends or getting quality family time in, use philanthropy as a social activity. For example, you can either accompany your kid to a soup kitchen or better yet bring his or her friends along so that they can have fun spending time together while simultaneously giving back and doing something great for the community.

Utilize the Power of Virtual Philanthropy

Consider a simpler means of giving back: online philanthropy. As an example, you could use the internet to research ways you can help your child sponsor a child in need or protect an endangered species. You would be surprised how much change can be made with just a small investment of time. From video chatting with lonely senior citizens and operating crisis call lines to provide at-risk youth with guidance, or transcribing historical documents for nonprofit museums to make their collections more accessible, there’s something out there for everyone. Catchafire is a volunteer search tool exclusively for online volunteer projects, and it’s a great place to start. You may find this approach excites your kids, as they can establish connections with kids, causes, or animals around the globe!

These are just a few ideas for students of all ages—from elementary school to high school and college—can step up to give back to their communities during the summer downtime (not to step up their resumes or college applications a notch above the rest during their summer downtime.
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