Whether it’s volunteering on a regular basis, fulfilling required hours for school or offering a helping hand to the neighbors, children benefit from dedicating their time to others. The facts speak for themselves:
- If a child spends an hour or more a week of volunteering, they are less likely to be involved in at-risk behaviors than those who did not volunteer.
- Volunteering also has a great impact on a child’s self-confidence which leads to a greater psychological development of moral reasoning and higher self-esteem. This is attributed to the strong sense of duty and responsibility volunteering brings forth.
- Studies have also shown that children who begin volunteering as an adolescent are more likely to continue volunteering later in life because of the early exposure.
If your child wants to get active in the world of volunteering, here are a few great locations in the state of Michigan:
- Gleaners Food Bank (Detroit/Pontiac/Warren): Gleaner Food Bank’s Kids Helping Kids program educates young people about the effects of poverty in the world around them, while learning about nutrition and getting first-hand volunteer experience with people their age.
- Mackenzie’s Animal Sanctuary (Grand Rapids): Is your kiddo an animal whisperer? Connect them with Mackenzie’s Animal Sanctuary. Open to children ages 8 and up, volunteers can help with animal grooming and training.
- Mid-Michigan Children’s Museum (Saginaw): Teens ages 13-17 who can commit to 20 volunteer hours per year can participate with the Mid-Michigan Children’s Museum a Junior or Teen Docent. They assist museum staff in providing the best experience for visitors and can even participate in demonstrations and plays.
- United Way of the Eastern Upper Peninsula (Sault Ste. Marie): As a way to “encourage youth volunteerism and create leadership opportunities,” young people ages 11-18 are able to volunteer with the United Way of the Eastern Upper Peninsula in various service projects in the Luce, Chippewa and Mackinac County areas.