Posts Tagged ‘youth volunteer’

Your Kids Are (Probably) Not Too Young to Volunteer!

preschool  kidsSure, if still toddling or in diapers, maybe they are more of a ride-along while you get engaged in service, however, if your kids are the age where following directions is a thing, then volunteering can be a thing, too!

While many organizations don’t start making formal use of energetic volunteers until age 8 or older, you can always search for “family-friendly” opportunities to get involved together. Here are a few places to start an online search for just the right project for you and yours.

Children and education, kids and girls reading book in park

  • All for Good (allforgood.org) is a digital hub for volunteerism and community engagement. Find youth-engaging projects in your area by zip code.

 

  • Do Something (dosomething.org) will get kids involved with other kids making a difference—millions of young people in a global movement for good.

 

  • Generation On (generationon.org) provides programs, tools, and resources to engage kids and teens in service and volunteering.

 

  • One More Generation (onemoregeneration.org) was created by kids for kids to get kids involved in conservation and endangered species projects.

 

  • Volunteer.gov (www.volunteer.gov) is the federal program for volunteers to find ways to work on cultural and environmental resource projects. Use the “Family” filter in your search.

 

  • VolunteerMatch (volunteermatch.org) is the largest network in the non-profit world. Search for volunteer opportunities by zip code, kind of work, and add the filter “Kids” or “Teens” to get everyone involved.

Volunteer for Homeless Young People: Safe Place for Youth

homeless teen girl one street with backpackIn 2011, in Venice, California, group of dedicated volunteers began driving around a Southern California city and opening their car trunks to offer hot food, clothing, and dry socks to kids on the streets of Venice. Now, SPY (Safe Place for Youth) has grown to a professional team with a headquarters, expanded programs, and much greater impact in creating services (health and wellness, street outreach, employment, education, drop-in services, and more) and safe space for homeless young people.

The goal is to provide an empowering resource bank of services so young people can take control of their lives and not be defined by circumstances — all in a positive, non-judgmental environment. In 2015, nearly 1,000 youth received life saving support from SPY, including nearly 10,000 hot meals served, hundreds of medical consultations, 5,000 drop-in center visits, and 57 young people that exited homelessness and entered stable living situations.

As in the beginning, SPY still relies on the great hearts and work of volunteers. Check out opportunities to get involved in creating an end to youth homelessness, and also to support the deeply important work of Safe Place for Youth.


Photo: “Homeless Teen” from U.S. Department of Agriculture

Want to Know How to Change the World? Ask Young People: We Day

Photo: FreeTheChildren.com

Photo: FreeTheChildren.com

So it turns out I kind of missed the coolest party of the year last week. I probably wouldn’t have been invited anyway–they were looking for a younger crowd–but boy I wish I had been there. I have friends who went, so I look forward to picking their brains about it.

We Day had it’s big California party last week, in Oakland, and the reason I wasn’t invited is because We Day is all about youth—a category that rarely still applies to me. A movement of Free the Children, We Day inspires kids after a year-long initiative, “We Act,” which gets young people becoming active for social change. The generation speeding toward adulthood now is the first that can actually put an end to the worst forms of poverty, cut a large slice out of global hunger issues, and more. The We Day events are held throughout the US, Canada, and the UK, to celebrate the amazing work kids are doing. Guests at events include super luminaries, like (just to name a few):Kofi Annan, Queen Noor of Jordan, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Jane Goodall, Richard Branson, Magic Johnson, Elie Wiesel, Deepak Chopra, plus performers like Jennifer Hudson, Demi Lovato, One Republic, Joe Jonas, Jason Mraz, Colbie Caillat, and tons more. As a young person, what wouldn’t you do to get to go to a party like that with thousands of other inspired, fired up peers?

Well, here’s what some ARE doing: Schools and groups commit to taking on one global and one local project per year, and take specific action on the issue of their choice.  Since 2007, We Day participants have raised 37 million dollars for 100 different causes and volunteered nearly ten million hours for global and local initiatives. Tickets to these mega concert events in huge stadiums are dearly sought, and can only be paid for with service. Some of the most recent lesson plans and activities added to the website include units on Girls’ Education in Afghanistan; Racism in Canada; Adopt-a-Village programs focusing on water, education, alternative finance, and health; Hunger Heroes; Take a Stand on Aboriginal Issues; etc.

Your kids want a piece of this…trust me. Go explore, make sure your family’s teachers, faith groups, and community groups know about it and look for ways to get involved as well. The only regrets will come from not jumping in.