The summer months are a great time for kids to explore their talents and interests by volunteering, yet many kids do not know where to find, and which volunteer opportunities to look for. Here are some tips to help your child help others this summer in Chicago.
Explore his or her interests. Volunteering is a personal decision, and it can be based off of what your child is interested in. There are so many opportunities already in Chicago that your child can most likely find one that aligns with their interests. If they cannot, however, suggest that they create an opportunity. For example, your child may be interested in baking. If this is the case, help them host a bake sale and donate the profits to a local organization in need.
Be aware of your child’s limitations. Youth often find it difficult to volunteer due to specific age requirements that some organizations have. A child who is interested in helping people overcome obstacles due to domestic abuse may find it difficult to actually volunteer with those affected. Unfortunately (but for good reason) many agencies have a required minimum age to volunteer. Work with your child to find opportunities available to them, and as always, if there is not an opportunity available, help create one. Your child may be too young to volunteer in a shelter that provides services to women in/who were in domestic violence situations, but that does not stop them from raising awareness of the issue.
Be involved. Volunteering is a great opportunity for families to do something together. Parents who volunteer not only set a positive example for their children, but they can also become aware of the most current opportunities available. And if anything else, it can be really fun! However, if your child would rather spend their volunteer time as a means for individual growth, ask questions and offer help whenever possible.
Though the summer months are a great time to start volunteering, it is something that can be done year round. Please, encourage your children to help others…it is a rewarding experience.