A wise Lorax once said “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
One of the lessons we try to impart to our son is how to be a good steward of himself and the world around him. Whether lending a hand to a neighbor or cleaning up litter at the park, we emphasize taking an active role in making this world a better place.
While any kind of help is great, sometimes we try to do things on a bit of a larger scale. Volunteering with kids can be hard (both logistically and in finding places that allow children under certain ages), but there are some great opportunities in the area.
Clean up the Beach
We are so fortunate to live along a beautiful coastline. Unfortunately, the sand and water are often marred by litter and debris, which threatens the wellbeing of marine residents. Visiting the beach is one of our recreational activities, so it only makes sense that we put in some of the work to help keep it clean and safe.
Keepers of the Coast is one of the local groups that organize clean ups. Check them out for scheduled events (like this one on July 5 for the aftermath of the Independence Day festivities), or gather a group of friends to host your own. Children of walking age and older can help with picking up items like bottles and paper from our beaches, making this a project perfect for the whole family.
Host a Sandwich Making Party
Plenty of local organizations are on the hunt for food donations. This summer, St. Francis House suggested that potential donors get together and host sandwich making parties. The goal? To assemble, bag and label 3o or more sandwiches and deliver them to St. Francis House.
This is a great way to involve little ones: even the smallest hands can stuff lunch bags, and the effort also demonstrates how quick and efficient teamwork can be. Set a time that’s convenient for your schedule and ask each guest to bring something to contribute to the sandwiches or bagging process.
Read to Shelter Animals with Pawsitive Reading
While this program is limited through the summer months, check back with the Jacksonville Humane Society when schools resume in fall. The initiative is designed to enrich the children and shelter animals involved, so everyone wins. Kids have the opportunity to practice their reading and fluency in a safe environment while helping to socialize and relieve stress in the sweet pets who are up for adoption. And who knows? Some participating families may find a forever furry family member through their child’s reading!
Purge and Donate
Children of all ages can always help with the process of purging old, outgrown and unwanted or underused items. It’s easiest to start with gently used clothes and then move on to toys and games. Kids can choose items, then sort and package them and can even tag along for the drop off at different organizations. By getting in on the process, little ones can see firsthand how much a simple gift of an old shirt or forgotten puzzle can make a world of difference to someone else.
Volunteering with your children shows that even the smallest act of kindness or offer of help matters. It helps make them part of the wonderful village and community we are trying to build and demonstrates that they can, even at a young age, make a difference.