The daily life of most families is hectic. Children are involved in many different activities and sports: soccer games, tutoring, recitals, basketball camps, the list is endless—these can fill a busy schedule. These activities are positive and parents encourage their involvement to help their children develop into well-rounded adults.
However, the dedication and time that most of these activities require, leave little room for volunteering in the community. Most parents are unaware of the positive impact that participating in Bay Area community service activities can have on the character development of their children.
In a recent web article, entitled “Raising Children who Care,” Silvana Clark discusses the importance of encouraging children to volunteer and offers suggestions for parents looking to get their children involved in serving the community.
She quotes Ken Bentley, administrator of the Nestle’ USA Very Best in Youth Program, on the value of raising children who serve the community. The Nestle’ USA Very Best in Youth Program was Created to spotlight the best in youth leadership, the program identifies teens whose efforts are making a profound impact in lives other than their own. Ken Bentley said, “By volunteering, young people experience the many blessings that come with giving service to others. They also learn important life skills like being responsible, organization, leadership, and a caring spirit.”
Volunteering helps foster leadership as kids learn at a young age how to guide and teach their peers. Volunteering also develops empathy in children. They learn how to care for others and be involved in an activity for the sake of someone else. Children learn at a young age the importance of giving, caring and thinking about others.
E-programs, part of the Bay Area Christian Church, is an exceptional place to bring children to volunteer. Every Saturday children ages 3 through 18 can be found on the soccer fields or in karate classes around the Bay Area. Often, typical kids will be paired up with a similar aged child with special needs. The typical child serves as a peer coach-helping model the activity the coaches are teaching the special needs children. Through Peer Coaching, volunteers learn empathy, leadership, responsibility and the satisfaction of making an impact on someone’s life. They simply learn the value of caring. Raising caring children makes our community a better place. Everyone benefits when children learn to volunteer.
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