Between everyone’s hectic schedules, finding time to volunteer or help your community may seem like one more extra activity or strain. But taking the time to get involved with your neighbors and city-wide festivities can be a great way to get out and meet people, as well as helping your child learn the importance of community outreach.

Where to Start

A great way to start is by listening to what interests your child to begin with, and trying to see if there’s something already happening in your community you both can participate in. If they love crafts or woodworking, see if there’s a local class or fair coming up. You can ask ahead and see if you can help by bringing supplies or snacks for the upcoming activity, as well as participating in the program itself. This is a fantastic way of getting your child interested and enthusiastic to begin with, and you can easily pick other activities that can help them learn as well. 

Getting Involved

Starting with activities that already engage your child is a stepping stone, as some community work isn’t going to top anybody’s list, but is absolutely necessary to help people thrive. Make sure your child understands this concept the next time you’re going out into the community, and vary the activities to make sure they understand how important the work is for the community as a whole. If there are soup kitchens or homeless shelters nearby your town, volunteer there every once in a while, to help people in need and help your child see different worldviews and living situations for others. Prepare meal kits or drop off unwanted blankets from home to homeless shelters. Donate pet food or blankets to an animal shelter, and take a weekend to walk the dogs (if your child is old enough). These activities are learning experiences as well as showing your child how they can help others in need the right way, and how they can make changes when they grow up to have an even better impact on other’s lives. 

Changing the World

Showing your growing child that the world can sometimes be less than ideal for some can be difficult. It becomes almost too easy keeping this part of the world secret, in order to protect your children. But in the long run, children are much more receptive to this information than most adults, and may even start making a difference for change sooner than you think. Children are smarter and more mature than most may realize, and showing them how we can help make the world a better place at a younger age may help them have a greater impact on the world sooner than you think. 

Katie Kyzivat