Today, Nicholson shares some ideas for tweens and teens. The holiday season is always a good time to encourage your kids to think about others. But I know tweens and teens also are looking for year-round volunteer opportunities too.
Here's what Nicholson recommends:
- Movie Night: The Helen Wright Center for Women is always looking for volunteers to plan a fun evening for the 36 women who are rebuilding their lives. Volunteers can pick the date, select the movie, prepare the snacks and share it all with the women.
- Host a Party: Many agencies seek volunteers to host a party to celebrate a holiday or any day. Volunteers can bring the snacks, games, goodie bags and put on a themed party of their choice. The party helps residents and clients take their minds off of whatever is going on in their life and lets them see that there are people who care about them.
- Donation Drives: Agencies are always looking for toys, clothes, and other items to give to those in need. Teens and tweens can help put together a coat or shoe drive, asking friends and neighbors to donate old coats and shoes to give to those in need. They can also collect food items to give to food banks and pantries. Another idea: Collect blankets and undergarments for the homeless and those living in shelters.
- Tutoring and Mentoring: The Boys and Girls Clubs all over the Triangle are always looking for older teens to help out with tutoring and mentoring club members.
- Thrift store shifts: Tweens and teens can sort clothes and help customers find what they are looking for.
- Adopt-A-Family and Angel Trees: During the holiday season, many agencies are looking for families and individuals to adopt families and purchase items off a wish list so they can have a happier Christmas. Some agencies have angel trees where a tween or teen could pick another child of the same age to buy gifts for.
- Inter-Faith Food Shuttle: The agency has several opportunities for tweens and teens to get involved, including sorting and stuffing grocery bags for seniors and those who are unable to provide food for themselves. Volunteers also are needed to help stuff backpacks with healthy food for children who would go hungry on the weekends when they don't get meals at school.
- Central and Eastern North Carolina Food Banks: Tweens and teens can assist at the food banks and food pantries, sorting food and labeling canned goods to get it ready to send out to those in need.
- Landscaping and Manual Labor: Many agencies need help maintaining their facilities on the inside and out. Many opportunities exist for tween and teens to help with painting, power washing, cleaning, raking, mulching, planting flowers, putting down pine straw, stripping and mopping floors or whatever else needs to be done to keep the grounds looking nice. It is an easy, but fun project for any age.
Here are specific agencies that Nicholson says could use some help. As always, before you make plans, check with the agency to determine exactly what is needed and what sort of supervision tweens or teens may be required to have when they volunteer. Some agencies have age requirements and restrictions.
- Urban Ministries of Wake County – Food drives, movie night
- The Salvation Army – Santa’s Toy Shop, thrift store, angel tree
- Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina – Food banks and pantries
- Life Experiences – Host a holiday party
- Genesis Home – Clothing and toy drives, Adopt-A-Family
- The Women’s Center – Thrift store
- Haven House – Bag lunch prep
- Inter-Faith Food Shuttle – Grocery bag prep, Backpack Buddies, farms and community gardens
- Boys and Girls Clubs – Tutoring and mentoring
- Harbor, Inc. – Thrift store
- Learning Together – Host a holiday activity
- Inter-Faith Council for Social Service – Meals, food and clothing drives.