Groups and organizations fall into all kinds of categories — and many of them focus on helping children. If you want to make a difference in a child’s life, there are plenty of opportunities available.
For a permanent — or at least long-term — impact, you can look into adoption or foster parenting, both of which we’ve discussed previously. Another option is being a big brother or big sister. That means forming a relationship with a child in need of positive influences. To learn more about the Big Brother / Big Sister program, visit their website.
Short-term impacts can take on many forms: volunteering, donating, mentoring, coaching, and more. For volunteer opportunities, reach out to organizations in your community such as hospitals, schools, and libraries. You can read to kids; help them with their school work; deliver gifts, foods, etc. to sick kids; become a teacher’s aide; help organize programs, events, and fundraisers; babysit; and much more.
Mentoring and coaching take this one step farther. In addition to helping the children, you’re teaching them valuable skills that have a lasting effect, such as teamwork, self confidence, leadership, and more.
One important thing to remember when working with children is that these are just kids — meaning they’re still vulnerable and impressionable. Your actions can have a greater effect than they would with adults, simply because of this. Children will look to you for guidance and knowledge, and how you handle that can determine how those children view you, other adults, and the world.
Working with children requires patience and understanding, especially if you’re working with kids who have had to deal with traumatic events, such as illness, abuse, poverty, and homelessness. These events can have created emotional and physical scarring that can affect a child’s personality and actions. But while these scars can make it difficult to get through to a child, your guidance can have a much greater impact because of them.
If you want to help children, but lack the time or understanding to volunteer or mentor, you can also consider donating. The organizations that help kids need money to continue, and they often rely on donations to fund some or all of their projects. Find an organization whose mission you can support and give as freely as you can.