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It’s Back to School Time (For You Too!)

September 10, 2015 

Summer has wrapped up and it’s time to hit the books again. Kids are in their first weeks back at school, and you could be too! Consider volunteering with children.

Why? Volunteering with children is an excellent intergenerational experience. You’ll be sure to learn a lot from them and they will undoubtedly learn a lot from you. Whether it’s a couple days or a couple hours, there are many ways you can contribute. No matter the age – daycare, preschool, elementary, middle, or high school aged – the benefits you’ll experience from volunteering with kids are boundless

  1. Make a difference. Perhaps the most impactful benefit of volunteering in any scenario is the chance to make a difference. With children, that small amount of time spent caring can be a huge deal. A little support early on can have a ripple effect on their future years.
  2. Be happier. There’s something enchanting about the joyful, free spirit of a child, and allowing yourself to be surrounded by it is a sure way to tap into your own inner-child. We’ll warn you now: you might find yourself skipping at the grocery store or letting out an audible giggle at a cheesy joke the next day.
  3. Fill a place in your heart you didn’t know you had. By giving, you’ll receive. Chances are good that you’ll gain way more from the experience than you feel like you’ve given. The smiles you’ll share, one-liners you’ll hear, and little miracles you’ll witness will enhance your social wellbeing and fill your cup with joy.
  4. Learn something. Who knows… as you’re assisting someone with their social studies assignment or reading aloud with a small group, you might pick up on a fact you never knew before. Bonus! Share it with a friend and spread the joy by recruiting them to volunteer, too.

How to get started:

  • Contact your local school district to ask about current, future, and ongoing opportunities.
  • Contact a local nonprofit that offers programming for children and teens. Try Boys & Girls Clubs or Big Brothers Big Sisters for starters. (www.bgca.org/whoweare/Pages/FindaClub.aspx or www.bbbs.org/)
  • Search a volunteer board like RSVP/Senior Corps, which is geared specifically toward those 55+. Their webpage features volunteer opportunities, ideas, and even a “match” function. (www.nationalservice.gov/programs/senior-corps/rsvp)

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