The Importance of Volunteering in Your Community for Elementary and Middle School Students

5 min to read
A student and learning coach volunteering together

There are so many health benefits of volunteering—emotional, mental, and physical. It builds connections within the community as kids meet and interact with fellow volunteers or the people they’re serving. It boosts empathy and encourages kids to find purpose in contributing to something greater. It gets kids out and about and moving, which can benefit their physical health. It also gets kids away from their devices and engaging with the real world!

A recent study showed that kids who volunteered in the past year were in better physical health, had a more positive outlook, and were less likely to have anxiety and behavior issues. It pointed out that when elementary- and middle-school-aged children volunteer or participate in community service, the activity is likely to also involve a parent or guardian, which creates an opportunity to spend quality time together as a family.

It’s never too early for the whole family to start giving back to their community. Here are some easy =community service ideas for kids in elementary and middle school.

9 Community Service for Kids Ideas

1. Donate items to those in need.

As your kids grow, they’ll age out of clothes, toys, books, and other items. When you’re cleaning or decluttering, have them make a pile of items to donate to those in need. You can also have them help you go through your kitchen pantry for nonperishables to bring to your local food bank. Remember to contact the food bank first to ask what they need most!

2. Create a birthday fundraiser.

If your child is passionate about a cause and would like to help, suggest creating a birthday fundraiser. Instead of gifts, your child can ask for classmates, neighbors, friends, and family members to make donations to the charity of their choice. While they may be too young to volunteer in person, by giving their time—and their special day—to raise money, they can make a significant impact in their community while learning gratitude for what they do have.

3. Host a lemonade or hot chocolate stand for charity.

This classic pastime for kids can also be beneficial for an organization of your child’s choice. Have them create a sign to let customers know they’re raising money for a cause. You can start by helping your child write out some facts about the organization they want to support so they can easily tell their customers where the money is going. This will help your child learn how to start conversations and talk with others about the causes they care about. If possible, help your child set up their stand in your neighborhood, and make sure to supervise.

4. Visit animals in need.

The Animal Humane Society and other animal shelters sometimes offer programs where students can visit an animal shelter and practice reading to cats and dogs awaiting adoption who need company and a little love. Check with your local humane society to ask about programs like this in your area.

5. Collect books for a “Little Free Library.”

Little Free Library® is a world-wide program building community and inspiring readers through book sharing. If your child is a passionate reader, this organization can help them share that love with others and expand book access for kids and adults around the world. If possible, you can collect books for your own mini library, or find others in your neighborhood where you can donate books. You can find Little Free Libraries near you using this map.

6. Organize a beach or park cleanup party.

Help your child set up an outdoor cleanup day with their friends. You can either choose a spot on your own or check with local community groups for organized opportunities. This is a great volunteering for teenagers idea that they can do on their own to show their concern for the environment and keeping the community a clean and safe space for all.

7. Make cards for those in assisted living facilities or hospitals.

Spend a few hours making cards or writing letters to people at a local assisted living home or patients at your local hospital. For example, Bring Smiles to Seniors is a non-profit organization that serves senior communities around the country. They accept handmade cards and other donations with the mission of spreading joy and kindness in senior living facilities.

8. Deliver meals for those in need.

Meals on Wheels is an organization dedicated to addressing senior hunger and isolation. When you volunteer, it often involves picking up meals, delivering them and offering a friendly greeting to homebound seniors. You can set up a volunteer schedule that works with the time your family has available. While this requires a parent for supervision and transportation, it can be a great way to connect with your child over a shared activity. Learn more about how to get involved here.

9. Host a school supplies drive.

Many schools need basic supplies like crayons, markers, and notebooks, especially at the beginning of the school year. Connect with a local school and help your child either fundraise or collect supplies from neighbors and friends.

Families who enroll in online school typically have the flexibility in their day to give back to their communities than those in brick-and-mortar school. Let these ideas inspire you and your child to get more involved in community service projects in your area.

E-guide for Connections Academy with a green background and a graphic of a laptop with the purple eGuide.

Ready to Learn More

About Connections Academy?

Explore the benefits of attending Connections Academy, a tuition-free, accredited online public school that’s passionate about helping your child thrive.  

Get Your Free eGuide


Related Posts