Build a Better World by Volunteering

Photo of children planting a gardenWhat is it that everyone can do that typically doesn’t cost any money and has almost infinite opportunities? Volunteering, of course!

In truth, numerous organizations rely on volunteers to stay afloat. With extra hands always appreciated, volunteering is good for the soul. Children who volunteer can learn the joys of caring for others, as well as the world we live in.

Below are some ways you can volunteer as a family.

  • Start a garden together. Gather the food grown, and give it to a local food pantry that distributes food to people in need.
  • Offer special chores that allow your children to raise money to buy something for an organization they are passionate about.
  • Cook! Make goodies for a neighbor or family member who could use some TLC.
  • Support local heroes, such as firefighters and policemen, by writing thank you notes for their service.
  • Set aside a “spring cleaning day,” regardless of the time of year. Have your children select gently used items, such as clothing and toys, to give to local shelters or charitable organizations in your area.
  • Be on the lookout for canned food drives. Allow your children to choose canned goods from your own pantry or let them buy them from a store to donate.
  • Pick up trash at parks and other public places you visit. Be sure to use disposable gloves, and deposit the trash or recyclables in nearby receptacles.

Additionally, here are some local organizations that offer volunteer opportunities.

Youth In Action Summer Program
Age Range: 12-15
Times: Weekdays and weekends
Duties: There will be a wide range of volunteer projects both for the City of Columbia and for other community agencies. The projects are both indoors and outdoors and may be associated with special events or festivals. Participants will be able to choose the activities they are involved in based on their interests and schedule.

TRYPS Children’s Theater
Age Range: 14 and older
Times: Monday-Friday, 9-5 p.m. from July 10-30
Duties: Prop making, set building, scene painting and stage lighting for TRYPS Institute at Stephens College’s summer productions

The Peace Nook / Mid-Missouri Peaceworks
Age Range: 8th grade and older
Times: Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m.-6 p.m.
Duties: Aid staff with inventory, check in orders, clean, dance, sing and laugh!

Coyote Hill Christian Children’s Home
Age Range: 8-17 (Must be accompanied by parent if under 16)
Times: Varies
Duties: Washing windows, organizing book shelves, deep cleaning houses, landscape work, gardening, cooking a meal for a family and preparing freezer meals to donate

City of Columbia – Stormwater Utility
Age Range: All ages welcome
Times: Evenings and Weekends
Duties: Volunteers conduct stream cleanups and apply “Dump No Waste…Drains to Stream” decals on storm drains to inform citizens about water quality issues

Clothes Cupboard
Age Range: 14 and up (must be accompanied by a parent if under 15)
Times: Varies
Duties: Hanging clothing, sorting donations, arranging storefront and displays and dressing mannequins.

Photo credit: USFWS Mountain Prairie EE Kids Plants via photopin (license)