Sometimes it feels impossibly hard to serve or volunteer with young kids. Our little ones consume so much of our attention, time, money, and energy that it often feels like we have nothing left to give. Plus volunteering with kids can feel like a logistical nightmare. Some options (like helping to build a house through Habitat for Humanity) just aren’t possible with very young children.
Yet I’m very much aware of my many blessings. I want my children to grow up recognizing the needs in our community and taking action to help meet them. I want to make a point to volunteer and serve as a family even when our kids are very young.
If you’re looking for ways to serve as a family check out this list!
Ways to Serve or Volunteer with Kids
- Take cookies to firefighters or police officers.
- Invite friends over for a pajama party so that their parents can have a date night.
- Deliver cards and treats to nursing home residents.
- Serve a meal together at the Lighthouse Mission.
- Help out in your child’s class or nursery room at church.
- Sign up to walk or run for a good cause.
- Instead of birthday gifts, ask friends to bring money or supplies to be donated to the charity of your child’s choosing.
- Donate socks and underwear (a common but often unspoken need) to a homeless shelter.
- Sponsor a child through an organization like Compassion or World Vision. We’ve sponsored kids through World Vision and through private orphanages in Guatemala. We love and recommend Friends of Children Everywhere and New Life Children’s Home.
- Sort through your toy collection and generously contribute to a local toy swap.
- Sell toys, clothing, gear and then give the money to a good cause.
- Ask restaurant management if your kids can vacuum or wipe down tables. (Some restaurants will say no, but if it’s an establishment you frequent often, they might humor you.)
- Drop off used building supplies, furniture, and artwork at your local Habitat ReStore.
- Volunteer to deliver meals to senior citizens via a group like Meals on Wheels.
- Older children could volunteer at your local children’s museum or the library.
- Collect and donate canned goods for a local food pantry.
- Clean litter boxes, play with the animals, sweep up pet fur, or walk dogs at your local animal shelter.
- Pick up trash around your neighborhood.
- Consider training to be a foster family. (Want to know more? Read THIS POST with stories from four foster families.)
- Give a gift to your mailman or garbage collector.
- Collect supplies for babies and new parents (gloves and mittens, picture frames, piggy banks, photo albums, diaper cream, teething toys) and donate them to your local pregnancy center.
- Surprise neighbors with baked goods or homemade gifts.
- Ring the Salvation Army bell at Christmastime.
- Take a meal to a family with a new baby. For more gift ideas for new parents, check out this post with ways to make new parents feel loved.
For more ideas, check out this list of ways to provide comfort, this list of ideas to help fight poverty, and this list of 35 service projects for families.
For a printable version of this list, please click HERE.
If you live in the Terre Haute area, here are a few specific organizations that would love to have your help.
Local Needs and Volunteer Opportunities in the Wabash Valley
Current as of November 2015
- Vigo County CASA–Court Appointed Special Advocates. Here’s what my friend Ally has to say about CASA needs in the Wabash Valley: “CASA is in need of some serious volunteers! We served over 700 children this year and have about 170 or so active volunteers. That means that a lot of kids don’t get CASA volunteers who will speak for the best interest of the child, and most likely get brought back into our system for re-abuse. The volunteer has to obtain 30 hours of training prior to becoming a court appointment advocate, which they get out of the way in 3 weeks; 3 hrs, 4 nights/wk.”
- Sponsor a local child in Vigo, Vermillion, or Parke County with Kid Kare Project. You can become a child sponsor, shop for gift items for children from newborn to age 18, or make a monetary donation.
- Chances and Services for Youth have several opportunities for donations and service including Bikes for Tykes and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Vigo County.
- Terre Haute Children’s Museum. We often see volunteers interacting with kids and maintaining the exhibits.
- Crisis Pregnancy Center.
- Adopt an alpaca through the White Violet Center. A one-year adoption is only $100 and you will receive a certificate and photo of your newly adopted alpaca.
- United Way of the Wabash Valley. United Way’s origins are rooted in volunteerism. United Way gives you real opportunities to reach out a hand and influence the condition of all. Join a committee or roll up your sleeves. Either way your efforts will help to create opportunities for a better life for the people that live and work among us.
- 14th and Chestnut Community Center. You can donate supplies for kids, volunteer your time, or contribute food to the food pantry. Sponsor a birthday party, tutor, or help in the kitchen!
- Sponsor or adopt a big cat through the Exotic Feline Rescue Center.
- Ryve’s Hall Youth Center. 1356 Locust Street.
- Salvation Army. Two notable opportunities to volunteer are ringing the bell for the Red Kettle campaign and/or dropping off gifts for Toys for Tots.
- CODA. Council on Domestic Abuse.
- Habitat for Humanity and Habitat ReStore.
- Lighthouse Mission and Connor’s Center.
- Make A Wish.
- Catholic Charities Foodbank. Visit their website (HERE) for volunteer opportunities.
- Terre Haute Humane Shelter. Must be 16 or older to volunteer. Needs include clerical work, photographing the animals, staffing events, manual labor, grooming, and foster care.
- Vigo County Public Library.
For a printable version of this local list, please CLICK HERE.
If you are familiar with other not-for-profit organizations in the Wabash Valley, please send the info my way so that I can add them to this list!
This list was compiled with help of friends and community leaders such as Allison at CASA, Dan from Maryland Community Church, and Melissa from CASY!
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