5 ideas to get the next generation involved in volunteering, donations and acts of kindness
Giving back to their communities educates children and teens on the value of helping others. It’s also a great way for them to learn about responsibility and gain new friends and even job skills while they’re at it. The following are ways kids can get involved with doing good this holiday season and beyond.
1 Meaningful gestures for the elderly are always in season. This year, sending handwritten and video messages to those in nursing homes and assisted living facilities has had special significance, as many seniors are especially isolated due to COVID-19. Through the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living’s website carenotcovid.com, kids can easily upload a video message of support and love for those at their neighborhood facility. After uploading, all they need to do is share the video on their (or their parents’) Facebook or Twitter pages including #CareNotCOVID, @ahcancal and the name of a local facility in the post. From there, the organization will share the caring act with the nursing home to get it in front of its seniors.
2 There’s nothing sweeter than kids helping kids. Create a fundraiser for Buckhead based Bert’s Big Adventure, which supports children with chronic or terminal illnesses and their families, through kidsboost.org. Kids Boost gives each pint-sized philanthropist $100 in start-up funding and a one on one coach to help kids ages 8 to 14 achieve their fundraising goals. Another idea: Ask Santa to shop your wish list through AmazonSmile and select Bert’s Big Adventure as the beneficiary. It will receive 0.5% of the cost of purchases at no cost to the buyer.
3 Each month, Chastain Horse Park has more than 1,200 volunteer slots to fill and always has a need for extra helping hands. This neighborhood horse stable provides therapeutic riding programs for atrisk youth and children and adults with a broad range of physical, developmental, cognitive and emotional disabilities, including cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism and developmental delays. Volunteer kids must be 14 years or older and complete a two-hour orientation to participate in its program, but previous horse experience is not required. Duties may include providing direct support to participants; assisting with various chores in the barn; horse leading before, during and after classes and more.
4 If your family is all about the fur babies, volunteering with Furkids, Georgia’s largest cage-free, no-kill animal shelter, could be a great way for the kiddos to give back. Several youth opportunities are open to all ages, including becoming a team captain for fundraising or supply drives to raise money or goods for the shelter. Reading to cats is also a thing: It helps socialize shelter cats while encouraging the children’s reading skills. Around the holidays, ages 9 through 18 can help pet owners stage their dogs with Santa for a Christmas keepsake photo benefitting Furkids.
5 Parents who are staying at the Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities often could use a few things. This Sandy Springs nonprofit provides complimentary accommodations to parents far from home who need to be near a children’s hospital, and kids can help by assembling much-needed “kits” at home, such as laundry kits filled with detergent, dryer sheets and stain remover pens or snack bags filled with juice boxes, water bottles, packaged sweet and salty snacks, and ramen noodles. Don’t forget to decorate the bags! Another offsite opportunity for kiddos—and a do-good for the environment while they’re at it—is collecting “pop tabs” (aluminum can tabs), donating them to a local recycling center and having the proceeds check made out to ARMHC.
Make the holidays brighter for a child or family in need by hosting a toy drive or shopping for gifts for economically disadvantaged children. Two toy-donation organizations in Buckhead are Toys For Tots, which has collection locations around town, and The Salvation Army through its Angel Tree program at participating malls and sponsorship sites.
Managing Editor and Wellness Columnist at Simply Buckhead. Blogger at Badass + Healthy.