Volunteerism: Starting the Next Generation of Volunteers Off On the Right Foot

Do you want to be the inspiration for the next generation of volunteers in our community?  Don’t know where to start?  You can start simply by being an example. Here are a few ideas that can influence these young volunteers to start doing more:

Let them try it, they may like it! 

For young children, it is better to gradually introduce them to the idea of becoming a volunteer.  To do this, pick one project at a time.  Having too many projects going on with long shifts can turn a child off since they are still young and have shorter attention spans.  Try limiting their volunteer commitment to 1-2 hours bi-weekly or monthly at first.  A great place to start is at one of ICNA Relief’s local food pantries which will allow for shorter shifts that may fit your schedule.  You could also try out a local homeless shelter, such as one of our women’s transitional homes, or a soup kitchen in your local area. As kids witness their efforts firsthand, it may spark the urge for them to do something even bigger, like possibly organizing their giveaway/drive!

Bring them along for the experience.

If you already volunteer with your local community, you can talk to your child about what you do and why you do it.  Let them know that your efforts help to make a difference.  See if they would be willing to follow you throughout the day or help out in their own way.  Maybe the program coordinator can help make a plan to get the local youth involved with volunteer projects.  You can even open up a dialogue with your children about starting a new volunteering initiative to tackle some issues in your community.  Grab some work gloves and garbage bags for a cleanup of your local hiking trails.  Brainstorm with your children and see what creative ways of volunteering they come up with!

Share some valuable skills.

You can teach children basic home repair solutions, work with them to learn how to make your living situation safer, or even find ways to conserve on energy to lower electric bills.  All of these skills can be taught to other young volunteers to put into practice to help families in your community.

Give kids a chance to show what their made of!

Do you want to inspire children to volunteer and build up their confidence?  Why not help them design their own volunteer plan?  You can start with a conversation about their interests and goals.  Maybe they have ideas on how to make their community a better place.  Maybe they have friends that would like to join in on the efforts?  With your wisdom, encouragement and guidance, your child will be ready for a volunteer victory!

Start your child on the pathway to becoming a lifelong volunteer. Check out your local ICNA Relief office to see how you can help build up the next generation of volunteers.