Holidays are known for a lot of exciting events—family coming to visit, fun decorations, gifts to exchanges, and of course the excitement of memories to come. As a PTA, PTO, or Booster Club member, you know firsthand how giving your time away can impact the community. A holiday tradition for many people is to spend their time volunteering with their families.
Getting kids to volunteer is a great way to show them that they can make a difference in their community, no matter how small. If you’d like to start this tradition within your family, you may find out that many nonprofits have age requirements for their volunteers. AIM doesn’t want anything to stop you from doing good! To help, we made this shortlist of 5-holiday volunteering opportunities to do with your kids or teens.
Holiday Volunteering for the Soul
The holidays are known for long tables full of hot delicious dishes. Unfortunately, not everyone spends the holidays this way. This year, you can take your teens to the local soup kitchen to help serve those in need. Food has a way of bringing people together and is a great place for teens to see the personal and positive impact they can have on another individual.
Holiday Decorations Look Better Without Litter
We teach our kids not to litter, but do we teach them to clean up litter as well? It’s not safe to pick up just any piece of litter at any time; so it’s important to teach kids about clean-up safety. For example, you should always wear gloves and closed-toed shoes for protection; children should never pick up medical needles on the ground. Community clean-ups can be done with an organization such as Keep America Beautiful or you can organize an event in your own neighborhood. Community clean-ups teach kids the importance of teamwork and how small deeds can lead to big changes—all while taking care of the community and planet.
Holiday Cheer is for Ages 1 to 100
If your area is extremely cold or snowy, there are other holiday volunteer opportunities that don’t require you to be outdoors. Whether your kids are big or small, assisted care facilities often welcome any and all visitors.
Just as you want to spend this holiday with loved, many seniors living in assisted care facilities wish for the same. However, many nursing home residents aren’t able to travel and will likely spend their holiday in the nursing home, possibly feeling isolated. This holiday you and your family can change that with a visit to your local nursing home. Older people often enjoy spending time with young energetic visitors and the change of pace they offer.
If you’re planning on taking younger kids to visit, prepare them with what they may encounter. Residents in wheelchairs or with walkers, unfamiliar scents, residents that have difficulty moving quickly, etc. It’s best to schedule your visit ahead of time. This gives activities directors an opportunity to make any necessary arrangements for the visit. They may also have special instructions for you to follow or tips on how to interact with residents.
Feeding Good Feelings
During the holidays, food banks often receive more food donations than usual. It takes a lot of work to collect, stock, and sort all the items. With the extra food donated, your local food bank may also need a few extra hands to organize or box items for delivery.
Because of the heavy materials, this holiday volunteer opportunity is for teens and adults. If your teen isn’t as enthusiastic as you’d hope, help them find their charitable side by explaining the importance of the work. Food banks help feed numerous families every day and assist communities that have gone through devastating events.
Holiday Volunteering From Home
If you’re short on time, you may be able to do some holiday volunteering from home.
An age-old, yet still heavily beloved gift is a friendly voice to a soldier far away, via handwritten letters. Being away from home can be difficult for anyone, especially around the holidays. Kids, teens, and adults of all ages are welcome to send soldiers cards and letters. Sending a letter of encouragement to those that are willing to sacrifice so much can open everyone’s eyes to the bigger picture. That we are all human and have the need to feel connected, supported, and loved.
As a PTA, PTO, or Booster Club you have the special opportunity to get your entire school involved in this holiday deed. If all the kids in your school participate there will be plenty of holiday cheer to go around!
There are multiple organizations that will send your letters to where they need to go. Such as Forgotten Soldiers Outreach, Operation Gratitude, Soldiers Angels’, and more. Some common rules for these letters include:
- Do not write dates
- Do not put cards in their own envelopes
- Leave off your home address
- Write your first name only
- Do not put in glitter or confetti
Many nonprofits have their own rules and regulations. Calling ahead and being informed is an important way to keep everyone happy and healthy this season. If you have questions or concerns, contact your local nonprofit to learn more.
Please keep in mind that kindness doesn’t have to be seasonal and that nonprofits welcome volunteers and donations year-round. Volunteering and giving back to the community teaches everyone kindness, empathy, and patience. You may even unlock your child’s own passion for volunteering and giving back.
AIM is here to help your organization succeed. Check out our other blogs for fundraising inspiration, tips, PTA, PTO, or Booster Club guidance, and more.