J.J. asks from Chesterfield, VA on January 05, 2010
Volunteer Work for My Daughter-near MIdlothian/Chesterfield
My daughter is 7 years old & we have discussed, and more importantly experienced that "pay it forward" idea & it's impact. She is really interested in wanting to volunteer, and knowing her, it will be most beneficial to do something "hands on." Does anyone know of an organization that might allow a 7 year old to "help out." She's too young to do anything with children (hands on and understandably so) but I was thinking of a nursing home, but don't know how it all works. She was so sweet and wonderful with my granddaddy before he passed last year, and I was thinking that she could probably read books or play games....any ideas?...even outside of the nursing home?!?!?!
2 moms found this helpful
J.F. answers from Richmond on January 06, 2010
I am a leader of a local charity group in the Richmond area and we're always looking to find ways to get our children involved. Sometimes, because of their age, children are not very welcome with certain organizations, due to the harsh realities faced by those in need, but there's really no reason they can't get involved.
The "hands on" part does not necessarily have to include actually visiting organizations and facilities to make an impact. I've cooked dinner at home (with my kids help) and delivered it to the medical respite for the homeless (they have no in-house kitchen). We've held warm clothing and basic needs (toiletries) drives to hand out to the homeless in Monroe Park (I do not recommend having kids younger than 10 to hand out items, it gets chaotic and they would need close supervision, but the kids LOVE gathering and organizing all the items to be passed out beforehand). We've also held a food drive for the Central VA Food Banks and the kids were helpful in getting all the food we collected moved and delivered.
A nursing home is a great place for children to volunteer.
As someone else mentioned, animal shelters also welcome volunteers, though I would suggest volunteering for Richmond Animal League if you choose to go that route (they get no federal funding, like the SPCA).
Veterans also appreciate having kids around, though you would have to check with the facility to see if they have age limits. You would want to prepare your child to see major injuries (amputees, etc.) if she's sensitive to that sort of thing, but kids tends to be very honest and have no problem asking "how did you lose your leg?", and vets tend to appreciate the candor.
Soup kitchens are usually good about letting kids help prepare and serve food, but again, that might be age dependent, depending on the facility.
You could also try calling a hospital (they usually have a hospitality center with a volunteer coordinator) to see if they can use young volunteers, though I think they prefer at least 13 years of age.
United Way has all kinds of volunteering opportunities to choose from.
You could also go to SoldiersAngels.org and adopt a soldier or send a care package, which is fun for kids.
I wish I could remember the name of the program, but I know there are some (Chesterfield County) schools that have a volunteering program just for kids. They do all sorts of projects, usually after school, making or collecting items to donate and my understanding is they get to make some of the deliveries themselves, so they can actually see where their work is going and the impact that it makes.
To be honest, at 7 years old, your daughter is going to be perceived as "too young" to effectively volunteer for most organizations, but anything that involves putting care packages together or gathering donations to deliver or even just cooking something together to deliver works fabulously for that age.
I could probably come up with some more ideas if my head wasn't aching right now, but I hope that helps some. And feel free to contact me if you'd like more information on anything I've mentioned.
E.M. answers from Washington DC on January 06, 2010
I definitely recommend signing her up for a Brownie/Girl Scout troop. My daughter has been in Girl Scouts for 8 years, and during that time she's done lots of community service -- from food drives to toy drives, to teaching and mentoring younger scouts, to helping at nursing homes, picking up litter, etc. More than I can count! Girl Scouting will give your daughter a very broad range of opportunities for volunteering, in addition to giving her many skills -- leadership, cooperation, and citizenship. And she'll make some very good friends in the process. I can't say enough good things about this organization!
P.L. answers from Washington DC on January 06, 2010
S.S. answers from Santa Barbara on January 05, 2010
A nursing home would be a great idea. You can just call the activities director and I bet they would have a good idea. Also if your daughter likes animals, sometimes the animal shelters need dog walkers and someone to change dishes and water for the animals. Of course, you would have to be there also. You know, liability reasons.