Happy International Volunteer Day! My cousin Melissa is stopping by to bring us seasonal service ideas for kids.
December 5th marks the United Nation’s celebration of International Volunteer Day (IVD), a day to recognize the contribution volunteers have all over the world in helping to make the world a better place.
This year, the UN is focusing on the contribution of young volunteers. “On International Volunteer Day 2013, we not only celebrate and recognize volunteerism in all its facets – but pay special tribute to the contribution of youth volunteers in global peace and sustainable human development. For IVD 2013 we celebrate globally that young people act as the agents of change in their communities.”
Yes! All over the world, young people are leading change through volunteerism and I couldn’t be happier that the UN is recognizing that. And it’s not too late to get the young people in your life involved.
This time of year, there are tons of ways to get your family to volunteer, both in organized activities and on your own. (Also check out Service Ideas for Toddlers.)
- Toy drive/Food drive: donations of new toys or non-perishable food are always needed at the holidays and there are drop-off locations at stores, community centers, schools, and other places. But don’t just buy something and put it in the box – get your kids involved! Explain to them how some families can’t afford these things and your gift will go to a child in need. Then give your kids a budget and let them decide what to gift. They can pick out a toy that they enjoy playing with to give to someone else. Or they can make sure that no kid has to eat yucky green beans by buying canned corn instead. By letting them lead, it’ll mean so much more.
- Food Banks/Soup Kitchens: With all the holiday meals to prepare for, Food Banks are on over-drive this time of year. But do your homework first and plan ahead. Many Food Banks can only accommodate a certain number of volunteers per day and fill up quickly so you will need to call and set a day ahead of time. They will also have varying guidelines on children – minimum age and type of activities they can do – so make sure to check first.
- Bake Sales: Did you get suckered into baking something for a holiday bake sale? Get your kids to help! Let them pick their favorite treat and help you make it. Explain to them that the money earned from selling the treat will go to buy things that your school/church/community center/etc needs.