VOLUNTEERING WITH KIDS

Tis the season of giving. Start your kids on the road to compassion and citizenship with these ideas for service that can be done with even the youngest do-gooders. Please email us if you have any questions or suggestions.

caroling

Seniors (usually) love babies and kids. We used to have a monthly play date with a local senior center and other families with picture books, musical instruments, scarves and snacks for reading, singing, dancing and playing together. It was a fun (free) destination durning the winter and my kids loved the big aquarium and having a new friendly person to read to them. We’ve also arranged Easter Egg hunts, St. Patrick’s Day Parties, Trick-or-Treating simple crafting and holiday caroling. Try to recruit a guitar or piano player for the caroling, or just bring a CD -these audiences don;t judge.

Call your local senior center or residence and ask for the activities director. We’ve worked with West 74th Street Home (300 Amsterdam Avenue @ 74th Street), Encore Senior Center (West 49 Street), 305 West End  Assisted Living Center (West 74th Street), Clinton Gardens (West 54th Street) and Willow Towers (New Rochelle) in the past; email us if you need more specific contact info.

 

Cook For A Soup Kitchen

Contact your local soup kitchen to ask if they accept donations of home cooked meals or desserts. Find easy recipes that include stirring, scooping, and other kid-friendly steps. Here are tips for cooking for crowds (you may need to borrow extra pots etc. from friends); we’ve found baked ziti, roasted baby carrots and brownies all scale well.

We’ve cooked for Community Service Associates in Mount Vernon and Xavier Mission in Chelsea. Some centers let kids help serve also, though there’s usually a minimum age of around 5-9 years-old.

Homemade cookies and treats are also appreciated at most fire stations.

And/or organize food drives in your lobby/school/community of pantry items. Ask the organization what they need.

card making

Host a crafting party to make birthday or holiday cards for frail and isolated seniors. Provide stickers and stencils to help the younger kids. Adults can make cards too. A great use for all the artwork kids bring home.

See the websites of DOROTMeals on Wheels NYC and Meals on Wheels New Rochelle for greeting card donation guideline or contact your local Meals on Wheels.

Kids of any age can also accompany parents on Meals on Wheels deliveries, though a training/background check is required for the adult.

Children lying on backs with legs in the air

Help kids in need have a loving bedtime and restful good night by collecting new pajamas and/or books to donate. Here’s info on starting a drive.

A great solution for birthday or holiday presents for the kid who already has too much. Party guests still get to shop and have something fun to bring to the party.

I've convinced my kids to do this for birthday (they still got lots of presents from extended family) and we had fun looking at the cute nightwear and fun books before dropping them off.

Search for more kid-friendly volunteering opportunities at New York CaresVolunteer New York (includes Westchester) and Doing Good Together. Please share any ideas with us!