Engage the kids in community kindness this summer
Summer is fun. Summer is all about free time. Summer is a great time to connect with your community, support local charities, participate in area clean ups, and volunteer at the animal shelter. Since your kids have more time on their hands, help them fill the void in positive ways. It doesn’t have to be too hard or time consuming. Yet, volunteer time can help you and your kids experience the joy from simple acts of kindness.
Here are a handful of things you can do this summer to volunteer and support your community.
- Clean out the linen closet. Did you know animal shelters and shelters for the homeless and domestic violence victims need linens? If you have older linens, maybe slightly torn or frayed at the ends, take it to your animal shelter. Oh, and don’t forget the old pillows. The animals will appreciate a soft towel after their bath, and they could care less if it’s used.
If you or you kids have outgrown your bed linens and/or are room redecorating, those barely used towels and sheets will be of great value to a homeless or domestic violence shelter. These linens should be in pretty good shape. And remember, always wash everything first before you and the kids load up your car to deliver the donation.
- Clean out your clothes closets. I bet your kids have out-grown many of their winter clothes and probably have a coat or two that they barely wore. Gently used clothes are always welcome at shelters, especially kids clothing.
We suggest trying to donate direct when possible instead of going to goodwill or other organization. Contact your local church or shelter and ask them what they need and if they accept direct donations. If you have a teenager, or even a pre-teen, this is a great research project for them. Have the kiddos find viable locations and make the calls (Supervised for the pre-teens). This gets them involved and gives them life skills they can use forever.
- Hunger is a huge problem. Especially for children in the summer who don’t always have access to school lunch programs. Find your local food bank (again, a great research project for your older kids), figure out what they accept, and donate it.
The charitable organizations also may need actual hands on deck. Set aside a day or more to go onsite, help sort through donations, make lunches or hand out meals. Giving your kids the opportunity to be part of the solution is rewarding for them and an important life lesson.
- Visit a nursing home. Elderly residents often have no one to visit them. Contact your local nursing home and find out about their volunteer programs. Then, take your kids to read, play or just hang out with someone who is alone and lonely.
- Clean up in your community. Most cities have clean-up initiatives and beautification days through-out the summer. Find out when they are and join the clean-up crew. These are a great way to create fun days and meet others in your community.
Volunteering is a wonderful way to connect with others in your community, make new friends and exercise your kindness muscle. It’s also a great way to carve out quality time with your kids. It doesn’t take much time or energy to make an impact, and by doing one of these simple tasks, you’re helping someone have a better day. You’re helping enhance your local community, and most important of all, you’re teaching your kids the power of kindness.
The Global Women’s Empowerment Network (GWEN) is all about empowering individuals to make a positive impact. Learn more about various initiatives and partnerships, and join our GWEN family to help transform lives around the world.