Today, we are learning about volunteering.
You've seen people in need on the news after a hurricane, earthquake, or other disaster. Perhaps you've walked past homeless people who are living on the streets. Or maybe you've been to an animal shelter and wished you could give every pet a home.
So what can you do to help people (or animals) who need it? The answer is — volunteer!
Volunteering means spending some of your free time helping others. You may volunteer to help other people, such as the families who lost their homes after a natural disaster. But you can also volunteer to protect animals, the environment, or any other cause that you care about.
Help Yourself by Helping Others
Volunteering helps others, but it can also help you, too. If you're upset about something that's happened — like a hurricane or other disaster — doing something about it can be a great way to cope with your feelings.
Volunteering also lets you see your own life in new ways. Sometimes it's easy to worry about things like school work or get annoyed because you don't have the best trainers or the newest computer game. Volunteering lets you spend some time focusing on others for a while.
Lots of people — and kids — find that they really enjoy volunteering. Volunteer experiences often put you in a different environment and expose you to people and situations that you wouldn't have come across in your regular life. For instance, you might learn that just on the edge of your town are some children who really need winter clothes.
It feels good to be able to meet a need like that. Doing volunteer work means one very important thing: You make a difference in the world.
So where do you start?
Some of you may already know about volunteering and service through family, Boy Scouts, or Girl Scouts. Religious organizations, like churches, synagogues, and mosques, also organise volunteer and charity work.
School is another good place to start if you're looking for volunteer ideas. Ask a teacher, school counselor, or even your headteacher for ideas. Your local parks department also might have some suggestions for how children can volunteer.
Things to Do With Parents or Family Members
Volunteering is a great way to have fun with your family. Talk to your parents, brothers, or sisters and see what they might be interested in doing. Find something you all agree on.
Here are some ideas for things you can do as a family — or with a group that has adult supervision:
- Clean up a park or along a river / canal.
- Plant trees or flowers in your local community.
- Serve food at a homeless shelter.
- Deliver meals to people who are elderly or ill at home.
- Clean up a school or other public building.
- Count wildlife or plants for environmental groups.
Invent Your Own Opportunity
Children also can come up with their own ways to raise money or provide needed services. Here are some ideas:
- Make and sell products and donate the money to charity
- Collect or earn money for charity
- Start your own charity group
Volunteering gives you a taste of responsibility because people are depending on you for something important.
A volunteer job can even help some children decide what they want to do when they grow up.
So what are you waiting for?
Make a plan to start volunteering today!