I received a great question from a local mom who wants to teach her son some valuable lessons early in life.
Hello. I have two children my daughter who's 21 months old and my son who is 6 and a half years old. My question is are there any volunteer activities in Phoenix for young children. Obviously not my daughter yet because she's too young. But I feel my son is at an appropriate age to be introduced to volunteer work. He has a few of his own responsibilities at home plus school and he takes them pretty seriously (for a six year old). But we are a lower-middle class family and although we don't always have a lot to give, or all the newest games and toys that their peers may have, I want my children to understand that we have many blessings. And that by appreciating what we have and giving to help those less fortunate can lead to a deeper happiness that can't be bought. I know that seems a little deep for small children but I believe they don't have to understand why right away but by giving them that experience it will help them to understand it all later in life. I have searched as much as my knowledge allows online and have found many organizations for children to volunteer in other states but none here in Phoenix. I am looking for just a few hours a month that maybe we could all do something as a family to help those less fortunate.
I am so impressed that you want to share your admirable philosophy with your young son. He sounds like a great kid, and learning compassion first hand, in addition to having such a caring mom, will surely help mold him into a fine adult. Several types of opportunities came to mind.
Of course, there are events that involve cleaning up the environment, planting trees and such, but I get the impression that you'd rather he work with people in some way. Here are five thoughts that I had:
- There are many organizations around town that serve meals to the homeless or less fortunate, and they are always looking for helpers. If you can't volunteer on a regular basis, the need is always high around the holidays.
- Organizations like the Phoenix Rescue Mission work on back-to-school programs, like stuffing backpacks or sorting school supplies.
- If you have transportation, any organization that delivers to the elderly, or visits shelters or hospitals or the elderly, probably would not mind that your son comes with you to visit. At the HandsOn Greater Phoenix website you can search for volunteer opportunities and refine that search for those that include children. Each volunteer opportunity will specify restrictions regarding age and whether or not an adult must accompany the child.
- If you are involved with a place of worship of any type, they would be able to provide information about programs where your son could be involved with helping others.
- Is he artistic? Maybe he would like to make holiday cards for kids that will be having a tough time during the holidays. Ronald McDonald House comes to mind.
Because your son is still so young, you would have to accompany him no matter what you end up doing. A resource you might find useful is Volunteer Match, where I noticed many opportunities. Use the Advanced Search feature to search for items that are good for kids. As we near the holidays, families like yours who want to do something nice for others are always appreciated.