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Wednesday is World Caring Day. So today, we're talking about volunteerism to recognize those who inspire hope and care. Specifically, how it can be both a selfless and strategic activity.
By introducing volunteerism into our lifestyle, kids (and parents) can reap a wide range of benefits. From personal growth, well-being, and entrepreneurial success, volunteering is a win-win for all!
For starters, those who engaged in regular volunteering saw an 8.54% increase in mental well-being and a 4.3% decrease in depression. Talk about being proactive in nurturing health, empathy and positivity in our kids!
But here are a few more interesting facts:
- Over 1 billion people around the world are volunteers, 64 million are from the United States.
- Volunteers donate an average of 50 hours per year.
- 64% of volunteers are women, and 36% are men.
- 42 years is the average age of a volunteer.
- About 55% of young people ages 12 to 19 volunteer every year.
Kudos to you if your family is already a part of that billion. In fact, we’d love to hear from you! (In return for a special GIF too😉)
5 Tips In Choosing The Right Volunteer Opportunity
Volunteering has come along way since we (parents) were kids. With so many new non-profits (2 million) and websites that make finding opportunities easy, volunteering is a fun activity for all! It's no surprise that we're witnessing a growing trend of young changemakers.
So roll up your sleeves, lend a helping hand, and let the magic of volunteering enrich your family's journey. Here are some tips to help choose the right volunteer opportunities for your kids:
Align with their Passions
Introduce your kids to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and each goal's purpose and impact. Use Kahoot, this downloadable board game, and books to help them understand the diverse issues these goals aim to address, and discover which goal resonates with them the most.
Join Youth Volunteer Groups
The key to success is to make it fun! Groups like Lion’s Heart Teens and youth-founded NEST4US provide a supportive and empowering environment where young volunteers can collaborate and make a greater impact together.
Use a Family Calendar
Stay organized and make volunteering a regular part of your family's schedule by researching upcoming in-person or virtual events on platforms like Eventbrite or FaceBook. By prioritizing and consistently engaging, kids will get a sense of responsibility and reward from positively impacting their community.
Motivate your kids by setting goals such as earning a Gold, Silver or Bronze Presidential Volunteer Award (5 years old & up) or Congressional Award (13 1/2 years old & up). These recognitions can inspire them to go above and beyond in their volunteering efforts. (Not to mention enhance their college prospects.)
Initiate Community Projects
Take the lead in organizing community projects with fellow families in your neighborhood. Whether it's a park clean-up, charity fundraiser, or food drive, working together as a community can amplify your impact and foster a sense of togetherness.
The key is to choose opportunities that resonate with your child's interests and passions. By involving them in the decision-making process and providing meaningful experiences, you can foster a lifelong spirit of volunteering and empathy.
Benefits of Volunteer Service
So how exactly does engaging in acts of kindness support your kidpreneur’s journey? Here are 8 immediate ways they can benefit:
- Meet like-minded individuals and build valuable relationships;
- Release feel-good hormones to reduce stress and handle challenges;
- Get different perspectives and inspire kidpreneurs to develop products or services that address real-world problems;
- Foster empathy and compassion for ways to give back;
- Boost their self-esteem in pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams;
- Spark innovative thinking by seeing problems from different angles to solve their business endeavors;
- Learn new skills to enhance your professional profile and open doors for future business ventures; and
- Have fun while giving back to create memories that will last a lifetime.
For those of you in more remote areas, don't fret! There are tons of virtual volunteer opportunities available everyday. Here's 3:
Lasagna Love- (family) A non-profit that helps feed families and spread kindness by providing complimentary homemade lasagna meals in your community.
Dear Jack Foundation-(all ages) Hosts virtual card-making parties. Letters with Love is a quarterly opportunity for volunteers to provide Dear Jack's LifeList participants - 18-39 year olds in active treatment for cancer - notes of hope, encouragement and support. All you need is paper, something to write with, a little time, and kindness!
Travel Unity’s Youth Volunteer Program - (for high schoolers) Travel Unity wants you to join them in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the travel industry! Connect with peers ages 14-18 from around the country, participate in exciting committees, and dive into discussions about travel, travel careers, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Here’s one more idea - instead of receiving birthday gifts, your child can invite friends and family to make donations or contribute specific items to a cause they care about. It's a meaningful way to celebrate while making a positive impact in the world.
Let's continue to empower our kids to make a difference and instill the values of compassion and service in their lives. Together, we can create a better future for all. 👏😌