Getting your kids involved in volunteer opportunities is a great way to help them grow into caring, compassionate adults. My husband and I have volunteered in the past, but honestly I never really put much thought into involving my daughter. Then two things happened. First, I have a friend involved in an organization that is all about including the kids and my daughter’s new preschool participates in monthly food drives. I was actually surprised at how much she enjoyed participating in these projects and how she talked about them. Some of it actually seemed to be sinking in!! (mom win)
I figured I can’t be the only one who was totally clueless about volunteer opportunities for kids in Columbus, so I thought I would do a round-up of some great charitable organizations that involve kids. Here you will find opportunities for kids from age 2 through 18.
Seeds of Caring
Seeds of Caring empowers kids to create a kinder community with their hearts, hands, and minds. There are many activities offered including delivering Meals on Wheels, making blankets for hospitalized children, or simply sharing a conversation with senior home residents. The children build confidence in their ability to contribute and in the end, everyone benefits – kids develop a heart for service, families are united by a common purpose, and the community becomes a more compassionate place to live, work, and grow.
Volunteer Ages: 2-12
More Information: Seeds of Caring
There are many families in Central Ohio that don’t have enough to eat sometimes, and it’s a great lesson to your children to help out when you can. Whether you are actually volunteering at a facility or just shopping with your child to purchase food to donate, it’s a great way to start a conversation about the importance of service.
Hilliard Food Pantry: Ages 14+; or ages 5-13 with adult supervision
Broad Street Food Pantry: Ages 15+; 14 and under with adult supervision
Dublin Food Pantry: Ages 16+
Kroger Community Pantry: Ages 16+; Ages 11-15 with adult supervision
Worthington Resource Pantry: Ages 14+
Columbus Humane (Formerly Capital Area Humane Society)
This is a great place to volunteer if you are an animal lover! Completion of the Skills Training, Engagement and Practice for Success (STEPS) program is required before volunteering. This class will teach you about how Columbus Humane works as well as info about the animals themselves. My husband and I used to volunteer in the cat rooms there and we really enjoyed it. They have volunteer opportunities working with cats, dogs or rabbits!
Volunteer Ages: 12 and up (Kids aged 12-15 need to have an adult volunteer with them)
More Information: Columbus Humane
Columbus Kids Do Good
Columbus Kids Do Good was founded by a local blogger to help kids create a culture of kindness and compassion in their everyday lives. Activities have included making lunches for the homeless, creating Valentine’s Day cards for the kids at Ronald McDonald house and assembling snack packs for the Ronald McDonald house.
Volunteer Ages: Kids of all ages! (Adults are welcome too)
More Information: Columbus Kids Do Good
Ronald McDonald House
There are numerous ways to help families in need at the Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio. The families staying at the facility have so many difficult things on their plate, and it is so nice to be able to help offer them the comforts of home during their stay. From making snack packs to welcome blankets, making a meal or baking a treat, there are so many ways to spread love and compassion at Ronald McDonald House.
Volunteer Ages: Volunteers under 18 are welcome as long as they are accompanied by an adult at all times.
More Information: Ronald McDonald House
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium offers the ZooAide program for teens. This program is designed for those interested in entering the field of conservation and it also focuses on the customer service aspect of the zoo. This is a great way to get your teen interested in service!
Volunteer Ages: Teens entering grades 8-12
More Information: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium ZooAide Program
Nationwide Children’s Hospital
Nationwide Children’s Hospital offers volunteer positions for teens enrolled in high school. Duties may include helping at the information desk, gift shop, sibling Clubhouse, clinic waiting rooms, Close to Home centers, and in office settings. These jobs offer support to families, patients and staff. While volunteering takes place throughout the school year, new volunteers are only accepted once a year.
Volunteer Ages: 15+ and enrolled in high school by July 1
More Information: Nationwide Children’s Hospital
See Kids Dream
Founded in 2008, See Kids Dream was created because of the belief that early volunteer experiences help positively shape a child’s view of the world and themselves. One of the things I really loved when browsing their website was the ability to research different areas of need by subject. It’s a great way to get a conversation started with your kids!
More Information: See Kids Dream
I love that there are so many volunteer opportunities for kids in Columbus! Getting kids involved in volunteering at a young age is so important. While they might not understand exactly why they are doing something, I think they can grasp the overall idea of service even from a very young age. Volunteering with your child shows them by example how to be kind, compassionate and helpful…and that’s a great thing!