From mentoring to reading stories at a school, here’s inspiration for helping children in need.
Making a difference in your community through volunteer work can be an incredibly enriching experience. Not only are you helping others, but you can also enjoy feel-good benefits. If you’re interested in helping children in need, below are a few ideas to consider:
- Sign up for a mentorship program
- Volunteer at a school, hospital, or youth center
- Support foster families in your community
- Become a CASA
- Donate time and resources to children-related causes
Learn more about each of these ways to volunteer to help kids below.
Sign up for a mentorship program
If you’d like to influence and inspire young people, consider becoming a mentor to help children in need. Big Brothers Big Sisters is a national mentorship program that pairs adult “Bigs” with “Littles” in the community. A few times a month, Bigs meet up with their Little to participate in shared activities like sports, hiking, attending events, tossing a frisbee, rollerblading, and more. The idea is to make yourself available to listen and provide emotional support as you serve as a positive role model.
You could also use a service like MENTOR to locate at-risk youth in your community who may need a mentor. Or, ask families you know if they could benefit from having a mentor for their children.
Volunteer at a school, hospital, or youth center
If you’re looking for a hands-on volunteering opportunity with children, consider reaching out to local schools, hospitals, and youth centers in your area. Many of these organizations welcome volunteers who are willing to donate their time to help. For instance, a local school may have an opening for you to become a reading buddy for elementary-aged students. You could read aloud to a classroom, listen to children practice reading, or distribute books.
Volunteer opportunities in a children’s hospital setting will vary depending on your local facility’s needs. To find out how to help, consider contacting a hospital administration department first. They can inform you of any placements they have available, such as bringing toys and games to a child’s bedside, offering breaks to parents and caregivers, or hosting events in kid-activity zones.
Finally, youth centers in your area may also seek volunteers to help with events and activities, tutoring, or other supportive tasks that benefit children in your community.
Become a CASA
A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is a volunteer authorized by the court to speak on behalf of a child in foster care. As a CASA, you would spend time getting to know the child and others in his or her life. Then, you’ll serve as a resource for the judge to make recommendations in the best interest of the child. CASAs serve an incredibly valuable role in a foster child’s life and can be a source of stability and comfort for a child in need.
Donate time and resources to kid-related causes
The final way to help children in need on this list is to donate your time or resources to kid-related causes. Whether you’re volunteering for an event, organizing a donation drive, or giving funds, there are many organizations that help youth.
The following are just a few children’s charities that accept volunteers, items, and/or financial donations from the public. There are many other notable child-focused organizations out there, so be sure to do research beforehand to find one that speaks most to you.
- Afterschool Alliance – Helps ensure access to affordable and quality afterschool programs
- Canines for Kids – Provides assistance dogs to children with autism, hearing loss, or physical challenges
- Make-a-Wish Foundation – Grants wishes to children affected by life-threatening medical diagnoses
- My Stuff Bags Foundation – Provides bags filled with new belongings to children entering crisis shelters or foster care without anything of their own
- Newborns in Need – Provides clothing, baby gear, and supplies to hospitals, shelters, and families
- Reach out and Read – Distributes books to children in need at each regular doctor check-up appointment to help educate families on the value of reading
- Share Our Strength – Provides meals to kids in need through their No Kid Hungry campaign
- St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – Researches and treats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases, regardless of race, religion, or the family’s ability to pay
- Toys for Tots – Collects new, unwrapped toys for children in need as part of a seasonal holiday campaign by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve
Volunteering to help children can be an incredibly rewarding way to spend your free time and enrich your life. Find more senior living and independence tips and advice on our blog.