Last Christmas, we announced our 2017 Charitable Partners in Caring. Each New Jersey charity that was selected by votes from our readers had the option of picking a month during 2017 where we would support them through advertising, articles, social media mentions and more. I am so pleased to introduce you to the Bergen Volunteer Center. They are our Charitable Partner in Caring for April 2017. Not only do we have the opportunity to help you get to know them and the great work they do, but they also shared with us this helpful article on easy volunteer ideas for kids. I LOVE it! I can’t tell you how many times parents ask us what are some ways kids can do meaningful volunteer work. Well, the Bergen Volunteer Center has made it very easy to answer that question.
About the Bergen Volunteer Center
The Bergen Volunteer Center (BVC) bergenvolunteers.org is a clearinghouse that matches prospective volunteers with agencies that need help. The 51 year-old nonprofit “turns caring into meaningful action by engaging volunteers to meet community needs.”
Studies show that kids who volunteer build up their self-esteem and do better in school. By giving to others, they learn new skills and teamwork, they network, and they get a front seat to see how organizations operate. Above all, they make a difference.
BVC’s free online searchable database is an easy way to find meaningful opportunities in and around Bergen County, NJ for volunteers of all ages including individuals, families, faith-based groups, scouts, bar/mat mitzvahs, and high school and college students seeking community service and internships.
5 Easy Volunteer Ideas for Kids & Families that Really Make a Difference
Most families agree that two of the most important lessons to be taught are developing strong character and being a good citizen of the world. Of course, those lessons are part of a parent’s everyday…be nice to your brother, say “thank you,” don’t litter. But how do you find opportunities that put those lessons into action as memorable life experiences?
Lynne Algrant, Executive Director of the Bergen Volunteer Center in Hackensack says, “Volunteering is the ideal way to show children of any age that the universe does not revolve around them. It shows that anyone can make a valuable contribution in this life.
“Volunteering is a terrific family activity. Watching a child go from receiver to giver is a moment that a parent never forgets. For the child, seeing or imagining the result of his efforts…a tidy yard, a smiling soldier, positive response to a community project…well, that is the beginning of a lifetime habit of helping others.”
Algrant, herself the parent of two teenagers, continued: “While they enjoy the self-satisfaction of doing good, kids who volunteer build up their self-esteem. They learn new skills and teamwork, they network, and they get a front seat to see how organizations operate. It’s no wonder that studies show that they do better in school.”
How do you find meaningful volunteer projects for families and kids?
You may have an agency like the Bergen Volunteer Center, which matches prospective volunteers with agencies that need help in and around Bergen County, NJ. Volunteers can go to its website, bergenvolunteers.org, to search its extensive database of volunteer opportunities filtered by volunteer age, location, date and more.
Looking for ideas? Here are five to get you started, wherever you are.
5 Easy Volunteer Ideas for Kids Ages 5 & Up
Easy Volunteer Ideas for Kids Ages 5 and older
- Mail to the military: Deployed troops love to receive mail! From drawing a picture, to hand-writing letters, to putting together SOS boxes that include (approved) items like gum and books, families and children of any age can contribute to the morale of those protecting our nation, a great family service project to honor a beloved veteran on his anniversary.
GOOD FOR INDIVIDUALS, FAMILIES, SCOUT GROUPS. AGES 5+
- Feed the Volunteers: Volunteers too young to work on large projects, like Habit for Humanity, can fill a critical role—by setting up and cleaning up the daytime meal for other hard-working volunteer laborers.
GOOD FOR SUPERVISED GROUPS OR FAMILIES. AGES 7+
- Tray Favors: Recipients of programs like Meals on Wheels, or nursing home residents, are typically shut-ins who enjoy cheery little surprises that are sometimes included with their meal trays. These treats can be anything from seasonal cards, homemade cookies, or bright crafts.
GOOD FOR SUPERVISED GROUPS OR FAMILIES. AGES 5+
Easy Volunteer Ideas for Tweens and Teens
- Social Media Helper: Computer users who are older, disabled, or otherwise isolated can discover a new world by connecting with relatives, friends and like-minded contacts using social media. Young, tech-savvy volunteers can teach or answer questions from beginning users.
GOOD FOR INDIVIDUALS. AGES 12+
- Pantry Helper—Community food pantries are often understaffed. Deliveries can be unpredictable; for instance, a large shipment, which might include perishables, might arrive with little or no notice. Workers are needed to arrange and organize pantry items so clients can easily obtain what they need, and waste is minimized.
GOOD FOR INDIVIDUALS OR SMALL GROUPS. AGES 10+
Get involved in the Bergen Volunteer Center Family Volunteer Day
The Bergen Volunteer Center Family Volunteer Day is Sunday, May 21, 2017, 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Registration is currently open for this event, click over to bergenvolunteers.org/family-volunteer-day.html to register.
The Bergen Volunteer Center annually hosts Family Volunteer Day in the spring to bring families together for a good cause. Families of all shapes, sizes, and ages will work together to strengthen family relationships and teach kids such values as kindness, empathy and respect for others. More importantly, it teaches them that happiness is not dependent on what we have. Families can give their time and talent to those in need and show kids that you as a family value community service.
Examples of Community Service Projects:
- Planting of a hundred plus plants
- Bee food collection
- Building prep for a Greenhouse, Lean 2 and Trellis
- Decorate plant markers
Bonus Opportunities to make a difference for the Bergen Volunteer Center this April
- Share this article from this Facebook post. Click here and share. For every share on Facebook (until April 30, 2017) we’ll donate 25 cents to the Bergen Volunteer Center, up to the first 400 shares or $100. (The donation amount will be determined by Facebook Analytics which will reveal how many different Facebook users viewed the article.)
- For each person that views this article during April 2017. We’ll donate 10 cents, up to the first 1000 unique views or $100. (The donation amount will be determined by Google Analytics which will reveal how many different IP addresses viewed the article.)
- Introduce us to a new advertiser. We will donate 10% of the ad income that comes in during April 2017 from new clients.
Thanks for taking the time to get to know the Bergen Volunteer Center.
Tell us how do your kids WANT to volunteer?