Ways Kids Can Help Out in Their Communities
Simple ways to get and stay involved, and our favorite reads to help inspire positive change!
Sarah Burns · 9 days ago
“Giving back” is one of those concepts you need to practice in order to really understand. It requires thought, effort, and sacrifice of our time and energy — but the feeling we get from helping others, the satisfaction that we might have possibly made a difference in someone’s life for the better...there’s nothing else quite like it. Pick your favorites off this list, and start a family tradition of giving back!
Volunteer as basic tech support
If you're good with tech — or at least savvy enough with the basics — consider reaching out to older neighbors to see if they could use help with any of their devices. Sometimes the fix is as easy as clearing out a couple hundred cat pics that might be eating up memory, or updating a device that was tossed aside because it didn’t have the correct plugins. Here’s a list of some basic mobile device troubleshooting problems and solutions so you can help the seniors in your life reconnect with the digital world.
Donate gently used clothes, toys, and books to children’s hospitals, libraries, and shelters
Charity dropoffs are convenient, but it’s a good idea to do your research first to make sure the items are going to the places that can do the most good with them. Donating to shelters and hospitals means you can be sure your items will go to those who need it most. Domestic Shelters can help you find organizations that will get these items directly into the hands of people who need them.
It can be hard to let things go sometimes, but it just means we’ll have room to enjoy and take care of the things we really love. Go through your closets and toy boxes, and be honest; is there anything in there you forgot you even had? Then you probably won’t miss it.
Clean up your neighborhood and local parks
Some community organizations have volunteers that meet a few times a month to collect trash, and help out with basic maintenance like raking leaves, or fence repairs. Search your local community boards, get involved with the National Parks Service, or check with neighborhood organizations to find a volunteer group, and their monthly schedule — or just grab some gloves, trash bags, and friends, and start your own clean up initiative!
Offer to do yard work
Whether you’re weeding, pruning, raking, or shoveling, there’s yard work to be done year-round, and yard work can be kind of fun! Seniors often need assistance to help maintain their home’s landscaping — but most adults with forty-plus hour work weeks would be more than happy to not have to sacrifice their downtime. Offer to take a couple of these outdoor chores off their plate, and your neighbors will undoubtedly be thankful for the kind gesture. Colorado-based Yard Angels of America services mostly locally, but does outreach and visiting events all over the country. Check out their website for inspiration, and more information.
Volunteer at a nursing homes, soup kitchens, and animal shelters
Few things develop empathy like helping those in need, and it’s an experiential lesson that will introduce kids to all walks of life. Actions really do speak louder than words, and volunteering is like telling your neighbors you care, and there are people who want to help. Check out Volunteer Match to find local organizations in need, and create meaningful memories with the family by setting aside a few days out of the month for volunteering activities.
Use your artistic skills to make cards for seniors and community heroes
Brighten up your local senior’s center with cards of every color of the rainbow, or head to Bring Smiles to Seniors to send them all over the country. Thank teachers, delivery drivers, first responders, and other hometown heroes for their hard work and effort, and let them know that what they do is important to you!
Help combat food insecurity by delivering meals to those in need. Many senior citizens are in house-bound situations, which means there’s little opportunity to get groceries or socialize. Sign up for a once a week route, and get to know some neighbors you’d probably never meet otherwise. Remember: a hot meal and a warm smile can turn someone’s whole day around. Check with your local Meals on Wheels (they’ve been doing meal deliveries for over 50 years), and ask how you can help.
Read to younger kids
Reading to kids can help them become more confident readers themselves! Libraries often host storytelling events, and are usually looking for volunteers. Also check with local elementary schools, which sometimes offer reading-buddy programs where older kids help younger kids reading through thriller favorite stories. Can’t find a program like this in your hometown? Use the American Library Association to connect with librarians and school English teachers to organize one!
Storytime is also a great way to introduce kids to the idea of getting involved in one's community. Try these titles to inspire!
Love is Powerful
This is a lovely, simple story that explains how the message of love can still be heard world over, even when there’s so much bad happening. It reminds readers that words mean something — they can act as agents of change, promote equality, and push our society towards a brighter future.
All activists have one thing in common: At some point, they were all kids! Filled with iconic activists, and maybe a few you might be learning about for the first time, this book presents the obstacles and challenges they faced as they worked to change the world for the better
Timelines from Black History
Black history is American history, but unfortunately, some school curricula have a long way to go to catch up. These are the names of the leaders too often left out. These are the movers and shakers who shaped and formed our country into what it is, and their lessons are ones we need to know to understand what it could be.
What Can a Citizen Do?
This cute rhyming verse book, filled with wonderful illustrations of diverse citizens, is an exploration into what it means to be a good citizen. It emphasizes the importance of working together, encourages the reader to take action in the community, and even introduces the concept of respecting local wildlife as we would our human neighbors — after all, they live here too!
Of Thee I Sing
Former President Barack Obama pays tribute to thirteen upstanding Americans in this prose-filled picture book dedicated to his daughters. He reminds them — and the reader — of their potential for greatness, and the positive changes they’re capable of making to ensure equality and prosperity for future generations.
Do an Act of Kindness in Your Community with the CAMP + Ally Toy Vault
Embrace the spirit of giving and giving back to your community this season! Come to CAMP stores or visit the Toy Vault online in the month of December 2021 to donate a gift to families in need.