Have you found that finding the time to spend quality one on one time with an older child while caring for an infant or toddler overwhelming? We’ve assembled a great list of volunteer opportunities in our area that welcome younger children and families. Get your entire family to work together, or, use a service project as an opportunity to get some one-on-one time with an older child. Your children will learn invaluable lessons about helping others and contributing to the community and your family will enjoy doing something for others, together.
Color A Smile (online) – Any age. Your child can draw or paint an original picture or a coloring page, which you then mail in to the Color A Smile office. They will distribute the artworks to nursing homes, Meals on Wheels recipients and individuals across the country who they believe would benefit from a masterpiece.
Capital Area Food Bank (DC and NoVA) – 12+, 12-16 year old volunteers must be accompanied by an adult and must have a waiver allowing participation. The mission of the Capital Area Food Bank is to feed those who suffer from hunger in the Washington metro area by acquiring food and distributing it through its network of partner agencies; and educating, empowering and enlightening the community about the issues of hunger and nutrition. Volunteers are needed in the DC and NoVA Warehouses to help in the areas of: packing and sorting, stocking floor, loading docks, and administrative work.
Earth Sangha (NoVA) – Minimum age is 8. Earth Sangha operates an ecological restoration program to restore native forests and meadows, stabilize streams, and control invasive alien plants in the Washington metro area. Volunteers will help plant native plants, trees, grasses, shrubs and wildflowers in grassland, forests and meadows. Volunteers are also needed to help control invasive plants.
Maddie’s Blankets (NoVA) – Great for young children, you simply have to be able to tie a knot. Make comforting fleece blankets for animals in shelters and children in foster care.
Claude Moore Colonial Farm (McLean) – Children under age 12 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The mission of the Claude Moore Colonial Farm is to educate the public about American agriculture through active participation and involvement in an 18th century low-income family farm and related programs. Volunteers will dress in period costumes and portray farmers, merchants, artisans, and musicians of the 18th century.
A Forever Home (Chantilly) – Minimum age is 12. Children 12-14 must be accompanied by an adult. A Forever Home is a dog and cat rescue organization whose mission is to find permanent, loving homes for animals in dire situations. Volunteers are needed to assist in foster homes, as transporters for adoptions and vet visits, handlers at adoption days, and helpers at fundraising events.
These are just a few ideas to get older children involved with activities that have a purpose. We encourage you to reply with any additional ideas, or groups that you wish to suggest to other Metro Parent Relief families and friends. Summer is about enjoying time with outside of the rigorous school schedule, learning about our environment and community, and enjoying family, so make the most of it!