Tags: Enrichment, Featured Story
Compassion. Generosity. Kindness. Many parents are searching for ways to instill these values in their own children. Brenda Ratliff is the Executive Director of The Volunteer Center of Kern County. Her advice is to get started when the children are young and involve the whole family. “Charity is something that can become a tradition and is a great way to spend quality time together, while helping our community.” Here are some simple tips for getting started:
Do Your Homework
There can be insurance or liability issues with children doing volunteer work with some non-profits. Find the best fit for you and the age of your child.
Talk to your kids about how and where they would like to spend their time helping. Do they love animals? Do they feel drawn to working with sick or less fortunate children?
Be a Good Role Model
If your kids see you being generous and caring for others, they will be more likely to grow up doing the same.
It’s Not About the Money
Let kids know charity isn’t just about writing a check. It can be about giving their time, their gently used clothes or toys, even giving blood when they get older.
Charitable work can also be a great way for grandparents to get involved with and spend precious time with their grandkids.
Ratliff reminds us that people in convalescent homes need help year round, not just during the holidays. Reading to people who can no longer read themselves, drawing pictures for, or just listening to, or visiting with folks who don’t have anyone, is a way to make a big difference in our community.
Cards, care packages or something as simple as a sock drive for troops overseas can get your school, church or neighborhood involved as well.
For the older children and even adults, AmeriCorps progams are available. This is a national organization working to match volunteers with a wide variety of services including building homes, teaching computer and reading skills or learning about disaster response. It’s also a way to help pay for college. You can learn more about AmeriCorps at www.americorps.gov.