In challenging times, both children and adults can feel overwhelmed. But through volunteer and giving opportunities, families can share meaningful experiences helping others.
Whether your family gives to charitable organizations, finds virtual volunteer opportunities or joins a community group, there are many ways to get active and make a difference. And when you donate or volunteer your time or talents to a cause, you not only offer needed support to the people, places and organizations you serve, but you and your children also learn important lessons and enjoy lasting benefits.
Here are just 10 of the lessons children can learn when they lend a helping hand:
- Generating Optimism
When children see that they can make a difference in the world around them, they renew their sense of hope and learn to face challenges with persistence and optimism.
- Building Empathy
Engaging in volunteer opportunities can make a powerful and lasting impression on children by helping them to understand and show concern for others’ feelings, circumstances and needs.
- Discovering a Sense of Community
Local volunteer opportunities offer kids a unique chance to build a stronger connection to their neighbors and communities, instilling a sense of pride and belonging.
- Accepting Civic Responsibility
As children also build a stronger connection to community, they can also begin to understand their role within it, developing social awareness and taking on civic responsibility.
- Expressing Gratitude
When children give to those who are in need, they learn the importance of being grateful for what they have and for their ability to help others.
- Gaining a Sense of Purpose
When kids are given the opportunity to choose how they’d like to contribute to a cause, like helping to clean up a park or collecting items for donation, they benefit from having some agency over their experience and find a strong sense of purpose in the work they do.
- Taking on New Experiences
Volunteering can help children build character by introducing them to unfamiliar experiences that challenge them to build new skills.
- Boosting Self-Esteem
Whether they contribute to a cause virtually or in person, as young volunteers help provide solutions to problems, they learn that they have the power to effect change, boosting their confidence and building their self-esteem.
- Learning to Collaborate
Many volunteer experiences offer the chance to engage in teamwork, learn from others’ diverse perspectives and build friendships.
- Bonding with Family
When families volunteer or donate together, children can create lasting memories and strengthen the values they will carry into adulthood and eventually share with their own children.
Volunteer Opportunities at NIHF
High school and college students looking for meaningful summer volunteer opportunities are invited to join our Leadership Intern (LI) program. LIs support educators and serve as mentors for young innovators at Camp Invention® and Invention Project® — two of the acclaimed invention education programs from the National Inventors Hall of Fame®. To learn more, please visit our website.
Find More Ways to Inspire Children
We encourage you to check out our blog for more ways to encourage and empower children to make their mark on the world.