Getting children involved in community service projects is a great way to teach both teamwork and civic responsibility. While many schools require athletes to engage in some sort of service work, youngsters involved in community leagues and other youth sports teams will also benefit from giving back. By volunteering with other players or members of their team, children who play group sports can build camaraderie while making a positive contribution to society. If your children are involved with team sports, here are a few ways to get their team to support the community.
Maintaining Public Sports Areas
Requiring kids to maintain the areas where they play is an ideal way to teach responsibility. With adult guidance, even young children can help with the upkeep of fields and courts, and they'll gain a greater appreciation for the work that goes into organizing youth sports. Want an out-of-the-box option? Consider helping out a different team by cleaning up their field or bleachers after a game.
Visiting Nursing Homes
From doing a scaled-down gymnastics demonstration to playing catch with the residents, kids can lift the spirits of elderly people living in nursing homes. Most assisted living facilities welcome visits from children, who have a unique way of making the old feel young again. Though it's nice to let kids showcase their talent, there are some fun non-sports options as well, like making crafts and singing Christmas carols.
Working with Animal Services
Helping animals in need can be a fun way to give back to the community. Most local humane societies and government animal services facilities accept volunteers for everything from cage cleaning to puppy holding. Walking and playing with older dogs can be a great way to give love and get exercise, and the kids might make a few furry friends in the process.
Improving Local Parks
Spending a day cleaning up a local park is good way to introduce kids to volunteering. Options could include picking up trash, planting flowers or trees, pulling weeds, laying down mulch, or cleaning up picnic areas. Most local parks and recreation departments have a designated liaison who helps organize community service groups and target specific areas of need.
Volunteering at Homeless Shelters
Virtually every municipality has public or private organizations that benefit the homeless, and most of them welcome help from volunteers. From cleaning and doing laundry to helping in the kitchen and serving food, working with the homeless teaches both responsibility and gratitude. Some shelters even have gyms or sports areas where kids could play or organize games for people at the facility.