In addition to fun and educational programs, a great way for kids to spend their spare time is to volunteer to help others. Not only is it important in developing gratitude and growing awareness about the needs of others, but volunteering can help older kids develop leadership skills and make them stand out as candidates for scholarships and college opportunities. Here are some terrific community service opportunities for families to do together and teens to do on their own.
Places like the Des Moines Playhouse, Salisbury House and Science Center of Iowa are always in need of volunteers. Families can help out in a number of ways. All are great places to volunteer because they all offer multiple opportunities to help out that are both on-going and/or short term commitments that can accommodate busy schedules.
Volunteering to help out at a local community or charity event is a great way to give back. Not only does it help make the event a success, but it’s also a one and done volunteer opportunity, for families or teens who want to give back, but don’t want to make a big commitment. Events like the Des Moines Art Festival, World Food and Music Fest and KidsFest are just a few examples of fun happenings that utilize volunteers.
If you’re looking to get in more outside time while volunteering, county conservation boards (Dallas, Polk and Warren), park boards and foundations and Keep Iowa Beautiful would be great places for your family to volunteer. Community service projects could include hands-on restoration and preservation of natural areas and parks, participation in ongoing construction and maintenance projects along our trails and waterway cleanups.
Does your family or teen have a passion for sports? Channel that enthusiasm by helping out a non-profit that provides athletic experiences for mentally and physically challenged kids. You can help children of all abilities learn the fundamentals of youth sports including teamwork and sportsmanship by volunteering at organizations like Special Olympics, Courage League Sports and Miracle Leagues in Ankeny, Des Moines and Urbandale.
Working with Kids
If you would like to enhance the life of a child, families and teens can volunteer at Children’s Cancer Connection, Easter Seals of Iowa and/or Youth Emergency Services and Shelter. Volunteers can serve in a variety of capacities at these organizations like mentoring, being a reading buddy or planning recreation activities. Families can also volunteer to put together welcome baskets or even just wrapping gifts.
What community service opportunities does your family or teen help out with in Des Moines? Give it a shout out below!