Opinion

Can and should kids volunteer? | Northshore Volunteers

What kinds of positive messaging can we give our children? Ones that they can understand, personalize and carry forward? Volunteering is a powerful message, one they can carry throughout their lives and one that will create a caring, productive citizen.

I’ve taken kids with me to the food bank to help not only with sorting and distributing food to needy families but also sorting and distributing toys to needy children. Children have assisted me during story time when I am reading stories and doing crafts with kindergartners and first graders. Kids have assisted in planting and harvesting in my vegetable gardens, the output of which partially goes to a food bank.

I see kids assisting often at benefit events by serving the needs of others. I see kids canvassing neighborhoods for donations to worthy causes. I see kids in their schools promoting activities that benefit those in need. Teaching our children to care about others is a gift to all of us. Often we see evidence of this quality and can’t remember planting the seed early in life.

A family we are close to planted these seeds in their children when they were young and now they are adults. Their daughter, throughout her young life, cared and volunteered to protect animals. She volunteered in her own daughter’s school and ultimately became the President of a young woman’s volunteer community action group. She has made an amazing impact on her community. Her husband shares in many of the volunteer efforts and provides an additional example for their daughter. Now, their own daughter volunteers in an animal protection program, participates in fundraising events and is steadily growing into a young woman who wants to help others.

Their son volunteered in coaching young athletes, became a counselor in an “outdoor adventure” recovery program for troubled youths and, among other things, volunteered at his daughter’s pre-school to build and rebuild furniture, fix gates etc. In the same manner, his wife is a tremendous supporter and initiator. Their daughter is still very young but learning to share with others, and to be aware of the needs of others.

So - if you want to really give a lasting gift to your children – give them the gift of exposure to volunteering. If you choose to do this, closely evaluate the volunteer opportunity for worthiness, safety and for a continuation of the message you are giving – seeing and acting upon the needs of others,  without a return to yourself. Now this is an exciting gift, expect it to go a long ways.

For volunteering suggestions please consider: Your local food banks; programs providing toys for children; local clothing drives and visitations to senior centers.

Remember – send in suggested volunteer opportunities to the Bothell/Kenmore Reporter, attn: Bill LaMarche.

Bill LaMarche is a 36 year Kirkland resident, retired, and active community, national and international volunteer. Bill’s prior career focused upon coaching and mentoring Profit and Not-For-Profit Executives and company / organizational participants in professional development, leadership, organizational alignment and performance management – including planning for volunteer service as part of existing company / organizational culture. Bill can be reached through the Bothell/Kenmore Reporter.

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