Volunteerism has become a global movement. Organisations now help to link individuals all over the world to opportunities to volunteer and make the world a better place for everyone. Not only has volunteering become global, but it has become more inclusive as well. Now, not only professionals and individuals with a mission contribute, but also part time volunteers, seniors, teens and even children, are able to find a niche in which to volunteer and become part of the movement.
If your child has a keen interest in volunteering, or if you as a family would like to volunteer, you will find that the benefits work both ways. Volunteering can help you as much as it helps others.
1. It’s Fun
It feels good to be a part of a movement which is positive and charitable in nature. Volunteer activities for children and families will typically include community based and group related work activities. There is plenty of opportunity for camaraderie and excitement as you roll up your sleeves and accomplish your mission.
2. Connect with People
Volunteering gives teens and kids a chance to meet with people from all sorts of backgrounds who are united through a common cause. Usually strong bonds are formed and they get a chance to learn from the life experiences of fellow volunteers.
3. Make a Difference
Volunteering really does make a difference. At the very least, the resources you give help to save money and allow the organisations you volunteer for to do more with the budgets and donations which they have.
If you volunteer within your immediate community, you help to strengthen your community. For example, volunteering in tutoring and literacy programmes will help other children to benefit from the school system, helping out at a senior centre or in after-school mentoring programmes supports families, joining a community clean-up beautifies your neighbourhood and being part of the neighbourhood watch reduces crime around your home.
If you volunteer in a disaster relief effort, work to build houses for the poor in a distant country, organise a book collection drive to help start a library in another community, sponsor a school or a student, you could be helping to save a life or equip someone with the skills to build a new life in the future.
4. Be Appreciated
Your child will be appreciated. When you volunteer with a willing and open heart, your efforts will be recognised. Volunteers often say that they were most moved by the thanks they received and the appreciation they felt. Being able to make a difference in someone’s life and being appreciated for it is an important aspect of self-esteem. Volunteering gives your child the ability to grow and build a strong sense of self-esteem.
5. Become Aware of what Life is like for the Less Privileged
For children who come from wealthy societies like Singapore, or who come from families without hardship, volunteering allows them to become aware of what life can be like for the less privileged.
In helping individuals and communities to achieve some of the comforts and opportunities which they might have taken for granted, your children will begin to appreciate what they have today. They will also develop a civic conscience and learn the importance of sharing and promoting basic rights such as the right of every child to education, food and shelter.
6. Learn New Skills
Volunteers learn all sorts of skills. They learn leadership, organisational, communication and people skills. They learn not only from volunteer leaders, but from peers, by mentoring new volunteers, and from the people they are helping too. Their opportunities to learn are not only multi-fold, but also multi-directional.
7. Explore Job and Career Possibilities
If your children are interested in a particular career or type of job, volunteering in an organisation which is related to their interest allows them to explore how they feel about working within that environment.
If your child has an interest in becoming a vet, working at an animal shelter will help to create an understanding of what it is like to work with animals. If your teen is interested in working with children, then volunteering at an after-school programme for kids can help to expose them to the types of skills which are needed.
Find out where you can volunteer and make a difference at these useful links: