Best Places Kids Can Volunteer in San Diego
Research has shown that mental and physical health benefits are gained through volunteering, which includes the reduction of stress, anger and sadness, as well as an increase in self-worth. Surveys reveal that adults who volunteer have a lower mortality rate, so set your kids up for success by teaching your children the advantages to giving back.
Make A Difference Day was established in 1992 as a national day of service. One of the largest, annual days of service in the U.S., Make A Difference Day supports the volunteer efforts of everyone, no matter their age, to promote compassion and bonds with one’s community.
Here are five amazing, local non-profits where teenagers and kids can volunteer to help make a difference:
This food bank feeds 400,000 people a month, providing free meals to those who are in need. Families are welcome to donate shelf-stable, refrigerated and frozen food Mondays through Fridays, and children, teenagers and adults can assist with inspecting, sorting and packaging the donated food. There are also other volunteer opportunities available in the food bank’s offices.
San Diego has the fourth largest homeless population in the U.S. and the third largest homeless veteran population. This organization helps thousands of these homeless San Diegans every year by providing food, housing, healthcare, counseling and other types of services. People over the age of 10 can serve meals, help with special events, sort mail and other activities. Families can also donate money, vehicles and various goods.
As San Diego’s oldest non-profit, established in 1880, the humane society helps animals and pets, alike. It provides medical care, education, animal control services and adoption events throughout the county. Children can volunteer by making toys and other items for animals at their homes, while teenagers can volunteer to help take care of the animals in the shelters or do other behind-the-scenes activities.
This grassroots organization helps protect oceans and beaches, and the San Diego chapter removed almost 10,000 pounds of garbage from beach cleanups in 2016. Help our famously gorgeous seascape and landscape by volunteering to clean up beaches, canyons and parks, and make some new friends while you’re at it.
The only type of service provider of its kind in San Diego, the Ronald McDonald House provides convenient housing services to more than 1,000 families per year who have a critically ill or injured child. There are lots of volunteer opportunities for adults at this organization, and children can assist with meals, baking, help with craft activities, event support and can even play an instrument in the family dining area.
Teach your children the importance of supporting their community by introducing them to volunteering early in their lives and by volunteering, yourself. For more information and ideas, check out Scripps Affiliated Medical Groups’ articles.