Kids Giving Back
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Teaching Your Kids to Give Back

Regardless of age, kids can reap the benefits from giving of themselves—time, energy, ideas and elbow grease—while realizing they can make a difference in their community.

By Vicki Martinez

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We talk to our kids about motivation, ambition and what it means to be successful—all things that will help mold their own future. But as parents, it’s also important to encourage kids to look outside their own personal world.

Helping kids develop a sense of purpose not only molds them into more well-rounded individuals but may prevent stress and anxiety from becoming a new norm during these unprecedented, uncertain times.

To paraphrase the sage advice offered by a wise man centuries ago: When you give, you gain so much more than when you receive.

Here are a few organizations offering kid-friendly community involvement opportunities.

Earth Guardians

With more than 300 youth-created, youth-led crews across the globe, Earth Guardians empowers young people to be effective activists and confident leaders in the global community around issues of climate change.

Based in Boulder, Colorado, the organization has a strong collaborative network providing all the resources and tools needed to take action, including a new virtual leadership training program. Kids can receive training, develop a campaign and build their own crew of youth activists or join an established crew in their area.

Operation Gratitude

America’s largest non-profit supporting military troops, veterans and first responders, Operation Gratitude hasn’t let the limitations of in-person volunteering created by COVID-19 affect their efforts. The Operation Gratitude Virtual Volunteerism initiative encourages kids to get involved while staying safe at home. There are many projects for kids to complete and show their appreciation to the men and women who are, and were, on the front lines.

Feeding America

The Feeding America network provides hunger relief to more than 5 million people every week. During COVID-19, the number of people needing food assistance has dramatically increased. Feeding America has upped its commitment to keep its work going by implementing very strict and safe guidelines for food bank volunteers.

51% of all food programs rely entirely on volunteers.
Source: Feeding America

Getting involved with Feeding America is a terrific way to volunteer as a family (they require adult accompaniment for kids from ages 6 to 15).

Find your local food bank to get started.

More Ways to Give Back

There are several organizations with searchable databases. Kids can choose a cause that interests them and allows them to use their unique skills and talents.

Volunteer Match: Click “Get Started” on the home page. Using the “More Filters” tab, you can sort by opportunities specifically geared toward kids.

Doing Good Together: Volunteer as a family or pick projects to help people in your local area.

Kids in Action Training
: This free resource offered by Youth Service America has age-appropriate training videos and materials (worksheets, templates, planning materials and project guides), guiding kids on how to plan and organize their own community project.

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