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Kid Community Service
Photo: Julie M. Borsh
If you have ever wondered how to grow a child who is more sociable, campassionate, and environmentally aware, it may be time to consider getting them involved in community service in the area where you reside.

Bringing your child’s talents to the community service table can stretch and broaden their emotional, physical, and intellectual horizons in ways that you may have not previously imagined, and increase the community’s awarness of what a Christian young person is all about.

An example could be that of a young girl, aged 13, who has been volunteering in a local long-term care facility near her home. Twice weekly she spends two hours playing a lively game of bingo, doing an elderly woman’s hair, or chatting with lonely residents. She has even taken a guitar with her that she is learning to play, and uses it to entertain residents in their rooms.

Her prescence is appreciated by all those she comes in contact with, and she is learning first hand that availability offered by someone who is willing, is better than ability withheld by someone of more experience. As long as she shows an appreciation for participating actively with the residents, showing up is just as valid as being qualified in their eyes. No one questions the fact that she is not a credentialed professional, and both she and the residents reap the benefits.

Ideas for Community Service

Here are just a few ideas for getting your young person involved in community service:

1. If they love animals, bring them to a local animal shelter where they can volunteer to clean cages, interact with the staff (and with the animals), and experience firsthand what it means to be compassionate to a large variety of helpless creatures.

2. Volunteering to clean or assist at a local museum (if you can get them signed up) can bring them face to face with history in a way that may not be achieved through books and conventional study. Their interaction with curators and historians can be an invaluable tool for intellectual stimulation and understanding.

3. Picking up trash at a local city park can help them understand the effects of carelessness, and the obervation of the wildlife while they perform this task can be positive to their character development.

4. Helping with a literacy volunteer program spurs them further toward academic excellence, and helps them achieve social interaction with adults who are educationally less fortunate.

There are literally scores of ways that you can help your child bring value to the lives of others and, in turn, teach values to them about the world in which they live. Society will benefit, and so will they. It’s a win-win proposition!

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By Michael Temple. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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