Having a heart for others and for causes, is this what we want to instill in our children? Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” As parents, we want our children to have the best lives they possibly can, but they need our guidance and love to do this properly. Most often children who learn about charity at home grow into socially responsible adults who give. Whether it is through environmental conservation efforts, health-related causes or social issues, children can learn a lot about the world around them through helping other people. This week’s blog provides you and your child with a list of four websites that help teach your child ways to give, ways to have a heart for others.
Websites That Promote Having a Heart for Others
4-H hosts www.areyouintoit.com, a great site to teach children about volunteering. The site tells kids, “Volunteering is one of the best ways you can spend your free time. You can learn lots of new things, make friends, and stay away from the tube! Plus, when you volunteer, you get to do good things like fixing up old buildings, or helping out people who could really use it.” Are You Into It provides links to other sites containing opportunities for children in charity work and also features topical areas where kids can decide what they like and how to volunteer. The areas include: violence prevention, drugs and alcohol prevention, environmental protection, homelessness, AIDS, wars/military, unemployment, ending racism and hunger. The suggestions on this site are useful and most are fairly easy to implement. Some suggestions are to start or join a crime-watch group, forming or joining a chapter of Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD), volunteering at a hospital, participating in walk-a-thons, building a bird feeder, helping in an animal shelter, helping at a cultural arts performance, organizing a food, toy or clothing drive and writing to overseas military personnel.
Youth Action Net is an initiative of the International Youth Foundation and they believe that youth “are uniquely positioned to build a more just and inclusive world.” They support more than 2100 youth leaders in 92 countries and operate more than 24 locally-owned youth leadership institutes that provide support for young social entrepreneurs so they can deliver on their social change goals. Check out their website to see the range of programs (such as using martial arts to empower women in Jordan to harnessing technology to increase civic participation in Mexico and so much more.)
Kids can log onto to Nickelodeon’s The Big Help where they can find information about how to adopt zoo animals, or as the website slogan says, kids can learn to “share, clean, fix, visit, care, do.” Established in 1994, The Big Help’s mission is to “connect kids to their communities through volunteering,” in other words, it is helping kids have a heart for others. Since its inception over 28.5 million kids have pledged 262 million volunteer hours through this program. Nikelodeon also runs the Nick Helps as an online resource “that helps kids and caregivers stay informed, curious, and healthy in order to become their best selves, improve their communities, and create an inclusive world.”
Nick Helps has a self-care checklist for taking care of mind, emotions, and body, and activities that foster anti-racist and inclusive actions, science projects, and even how kids can understand and help people in the Ukraine.
These four websites are suggestions on places to start if you and your children need some ideas about where to volunteer, what can be learned, what can be done, or if you need some inspiration as to where and how to have a heart for others. You can also search our database of organizations by clicking here for national and local organizations to participate in park or beach clean-ups, letter writing campaigngs, trail rebuilding, animal welfare activities, or any other kind of volunteer opportunity for a cause that may be near and dear to your child’s heart.