With the holiday season, we do our best to instill a love of giving into the kids in our lives. For many, that means service to our world and our community. It’s never too soon to teach little ones that other people need our help, and that it’s truly better to give than to receive. Volunteering isn’t just fun and fulfilling — it can also help teach empathy and tolerance.
How to Volunteer with Kids
Consider how you’ll make your volunteer experience meaningful and age-appropriate. Will you do a one-time project, or volunteer on a regular basis? With younger children and ever-changing schedules, a one-time project might be easier. Or, choose something that your whole family can do together on a regular schedule.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Pick up trash around your neighborhood. Wear gloves, and supervise kids closely. Even toddlers can point out trash for the grownups to pick up and toss, and babies can come along for the ride.
- Donate to a food pantry. Monetary donations to a pantry can be more efficient than contributing the food itself, as the pantry can often get bulk deals. But collecting cans and boxes can be easier, and more tangible for the kids in your life. Every little bit helps! Organizing a food drive can also teach kids how to manage a small project, and seeing a plan through.
- Participate in a charity walk/run. Many charity walks will allow kids in a stroller, and many kids 5 & older can handle a few miles. Measure out a distance that your kiddos can walk comfortably before signing up. You’ll get a little exercise out of it, too.
Volunteer Opportunities in Portland
Start a book drive with The Children’s Book Bank. Or, kids six and older can participate in cleaning parties, where volunteers spruce up used donations.
Friends of Trees is always looking for a few good hands to help plant trees, weed, and mulch all around Portland. Any ages are welcome, but youngsters need to bring a waiver to participate.
Get your hands dirty with work parties at Zenger Farms. Kids ages 8 & up can tend fields or pick the fruits of the harvest, with an adult.
Hands On Greater Portland is a great resource for anyone looking for specific volunteer opportunities. Each listing has an age included (your kids will need to be at least four for the listings we saw), and you can search for jobs that are appropriate for kids. Create care packages for Northwest Children’s Outreach, provide a hot meal at a family shelter, or any other number of family-friendly activities. Be sure to sign up ahead of time!
At Kids at Heart, we have some special non-profits that are near and dear to our hearts! Every holiday season, we pass along our gift-wrapping proceeds to Listos Para Aprender, a division of Morrison Child and Family Services. We also collect toys and books for our giving tree which benefits Friends of Seasonal and Service Workers!