June 09, 2009,
K.P. asks from Cherryville, MO on June 07, 2009
Volunteer Work for a 5 Year Old?
I came from a very poor upbringing, worked very hard, obtained my law degree, and also married an attorney. We are by no means rich, but we are however much better off than a huge portion of the US. I want my son to grow up realizing how fortunate he is and also learn to give back to those who do not have as much as we do.
What kind of volunteer work can I get involved in so that my 5 yr old son could also participate? Thus far, we have gathered toys and clothing for the salvation army and purchased food for the soup kitchens in town. I explain to him why we do what we do when we give the items away. Any other ideas for volunteering or ideas for some other way to teach him humility and to give back?
2 moms found this helpful
S.Q. answers from Chicago on June 08, 2009
That is a great attitude and your son is a lucky boy to have parents who can model such empathy and concern for others!
What are your passions in life? What motivates you to improve the world? Then, you can include your son in your work with those agencies.
My great love in life is pediatric health care- and I think I probably talk about it a lot at home. My 7 and 9 year old have done a book-raiser for Bay Cliff Health Camp in Big Bay, MI, an amazing 7-week camp for kids with disabilities where the campers leave their families to live with counselors and therapists and work/play all day long. I worked there two summers and my kids heard about it. We looked at my scrapbook from those summers and they came up with the idea to send the kids NEW books for their new library. We hosted an Usborne book fair at our house and did an on-line sale, then the kids wrote cards and mailed the books to the camp explaining who they were and why they wanted to help. They were in charge of selecting all of the books and sending thank-you cards to the donors. Now, they check the Bay Cliff website and read the newsletters and feel connected. We are going to take a drive up there this summer on Visitors Day so they can meet some of the kids.
Perhaps there is a children's agency in your area that you could build a relationship with (if that is an area of interest for you)? Or something else that you are passionate about?
We have a volunteer center in Oak Park that matches volunteers to programs in need. You could check to see if your town has something similar or check the local paper for "Volunteers Needed" section.
I can send you more info on Bay Cliff, but I am sure there is an infant welfare clinic, or a not-for-profit disability program in your area, too, that could use donations of books or toys. Good luck!
M.J. answers from Chicago on June 08, 2009
you might encourage him to donate spare change to a worthy cause. donate his books that he no longer uses to the local library. pick up trash in a local park. maybe ask your park about planting flowers etc.
J.S. answers from Chicago on June 08, 2009
I think what you've done so far is fantastic. I think since he is young, you want to keep it simple. Here are a few other ideas:
Pick a park area that you frequent and pick up the trash from litterbugs. Make sure you wear gloves!
Check with a local animal shelter and see what they need. Gather supplies for them.
Have him set up a lemonade stand with proceeds going to charity.
N.W. answers from Chicago on June 08, 2009
I would ask your son what he cares about and what he'd like to help. Does he like animals? The outdoors? Food? Toys? Helping him choose how he'd like to help will give you great ideas!
Some nursing homes like to have kids come in and visit the elderly that don't have any family. He could just come in and bring balloons, or handmade cards, or books for them to read.
I commend you all on your giving spirit!
E.P. answers from Chicago on June 08, 2009
I have tried to instill in my children that a hero doesn't necessarily save hundreds of people, they may just make the life of one person a better place. Even volunteers are heroes, whether young or old, because they make the world a better place.
This year, it was my quest to find "young heroes" stories to share with my children. I also do volunteer work with children and shared these stories with them too. I purchased this book and my children and I read it together. Wonderful, heartwarming (and heart wrenching!) stories" (yes, it has a goofy title!)
Also John Tesh had a great list of volunteer associations that were founded by children. I can't seem to find that list but this list is close:
These are awesome life lessons that you are teaching your child. Getting him involved in giving to Salvation Army or related charities, regularly, is a great start. Sometimes, at this age, seeing people at a soup kitchen is a little scary, so donating at this point is great. Teaching him to become a volunteer just has to be at his maturity and comfort level. Seeing you volunteer and giving money to Church or charities instills those qualities in him, too. Very powerful.
Every year, around Christmas, I would bring my children to a local nursing home and we would pass out simple gifts. One year, with the nursing home's permission and guidance, we handed out drinking glasses w/ hard candy. Another year, we gave away 8"x 8" little cloth pouches that they could carry stuff in - hanging it over the arm of a wheel chair. I had to warn my kids that, not everyone will be pleasant or will want us to approach them. However, sometimes people will want to hold your hand and touch you and, yes, my children put up with a lot of hugs and cheek pinches - especially my son who is the younger one.
Cub scouts, 4-H and organizations like that, give children opportunities to volunteer, too. Animal shelters are also a great place to go, if it doesn't sadden him, at this age, to see the animals in cages.
What a great mom you are to raise a son to have humility and compassion. I haven't forgotten to give back either - learned it from my mom!
J.C. answers from Chicago on June 09, 2009
My friend is putting her 11 yr old son in the YMCA Plano all day care program. She was telling me that you can sign your kid up for volunteer work. The Y takes the kids to various locations to do volunteer work. I dont know if this is only for daycare children, the age, etc. But maybe check with them or your local Y to see if they have anything to offer. I think he may be a little young to really grasp volunteer work but maybe if you know of a nearby elderly person in your neighborhood he can take their trash to the curb for them or help plant & water flowers for them. What you are doing for him is wonderful & I cant wait til my kids are older so we can do the same.