Giving Back Begins at Home: How to Engage Young People in Service

My 17-year-old daughter and I have been members of the National Charity League since she was in seventh grade. The group offers a variety of opportunities for mothers and daughters to work together in the community. Volunteering with my daughter has given us many unique experiences, and we’ve made lots of good memories in the process. 

Atlanta has an abundance of choices for young people to serve. Below is a sampling of the different places you and your children can serve together. Volunteering with your kids is a great way to instill the importance of giving back, while also creating a new way to bond with.

Atlanta Community Food Bank – Your kids and their friends can put together a group to help in the community garden. Who doesn’t love digging in the dirt?

Blessings in a Backpack – This group coordinates weekend meals for elementary school children in need. Volunteer opportunities include helping to shop, fill, and deliver the backpacks filled with food to designated schools.

Drake House – The Drake House provides free, short-term housing and a food pantry to single mothers and children. The women receive life skills and job training, as well as other types of support to ensure future success.  Help is needed in many ways, including babysitting, sorting clothes at The Drake Closet, or maintaining the grounds.

Erin’s Hope for Friends – E’s Club is where teens on the high-functioning autism spectrum gather to make friends and have fun. You and your teens can spend quality time with these remarkable kids during their club events.

FOCUS + Fragile Kids – Recently merged, these two organizations help children who are medically fragile or have significant developmental and/or physical disabilities. Teenagers and adults can join any of their activities, events, and summer camps.

Furkids – If you like animals, there are many great opportunities for young people, including reading to cats, caring for shelter dogs/cats, and helping at adoption events.

MUST Ministries – From coloring lunch bags and collecting books, to making sandwiches and riding in the food delivery vans, there are plenty of ways for you and your kids to connect with each other and the community.

Pebble Tossers – Can’t decide? Pebble Tossers is a clearinghouse of projects in 12 different categories. Kids can make care packages for people in need, play games with senior citizens, or make goody bags for first responders.

These are just a few of the wonderful organizations in our city that support our neighbors and friends. Please comment below and let me know your favorite and how people can get involved.