Volunteering with your kids: why you should sign-up today!

While it may be debated that humans are innately compassionate and generous, we choose to believe it to be true. At the same time, we are living in a time when it appears that empathy and kindness are the exception instead of the rule. To help counter the current culture along with the self-centered, egocentric developmental phases that are focused on “me, me, me,” volunteering can be a great tool in helping kids to focus on others. Volunteering will not only help them to build compassion, but it will help them build self-esteem as well as show them that they can make an important impact on the world around them even in small simple ways.

It’s also good for kids to volunteer in a multitude of ways because they learn different things from different opportunities.  Sometimes they learn the value of their time, sometimes it is empathy for those who are different from themselves, and sometimes it is about raising and providing funds that people and organizations need more than they need time. 

Simple ways kids can volunteer and make a difference:

  • Going to a local nursing home is a great way for kids to make a difference in a lonely person’s life. Kids who are shy or who don’t know how to make conversation can simply ask if someone wants to be read to or if they would like to play a game of cards.
  • Host a bake sale for a cause that is local and near to your child’s heart (be sure to check with your Chamber of Commerce to avoid any hassles with tax laws, etc…)
  • Write letters to soldiers who are away from home serving the U.S. Military through Operation Gratitude or Soldiers Angels.
  • If your child is into animals, then by all means find ways for them to get the shelters the many supplies they need. There are many cool ideas out there for making items that animals need out of unwanted used items.
  • Do a drive to collect things that many families might need this time of year including coats, gloves, warm boots, and drop them off at a local homeless shelter.
  • If you can find opportunities for kids to interact with the homeless or the poor, you will teach them to be compassionate and to understand that we are all connected and human–each of us needing love and generosity.
  • Convince your children to give away good quality toys that they no longer play with. 
  • Encourage your kids to volunteer every day at school without anyone knowing. Ask them to go play with someone at recess who always stands alone on the playground. Advise them to find a student who struggles in a subject they are good at and go help that person. Tell them to compliment a teacher. All of these things are simple, easy, and frankly, life-changing for both parties!

If you want to go even further, here are some organizations in Colorado that provide more formal and structured opportunities for kids to volunteer are:

Rocky Mountain STEAMFest – 11+. STEAM Fest is just around the corner (trust us, it’ll be here before you know it!). To pull off these daring feats of magic, creativity and imagination, we need over 150 awesome volunteers – and that could include you! You can help us hang posters, spread the word, recruit exhibitors – and so much more. Jobs include working from home with flexible hours – whatever you can do – from 4 hours to 40 – we’ve got the perfect fit for you.

Children’s Hospital – for ages 13-18 – This is a pretty intense volunteer program that is intended for kids who might be interested in the medical field.  They are required to turn in an application, be interviewed, and pass a health screening.

Volunteers of America – for ages 11-17 – According to the site, “Youth volunteers can work with children in Head Start schools, help the homeless, assist homebound seniors, and much more. Youth volunteers can work with children in Head Start schools, help the homeless, assist homebound seniors, and much more.”

Spark the Change Colorado – for all ages but steered towards elementary age children – The organization’s vision is to help kids develop an understanding of the importance of volunteerism and community engagement. At their sponsored events, there is a theme like Veterans, and then together, families, children, and the organization, develop and plan for “hands-on service learning projects that benefit local non-profit organizations.” Not only do kids help the community, but they get to problem-solve and ideate as well as develop leadership skills.

Also check out, Parent Magazine’s resource of nationwide organizations focused on helping families find opportunities to volunteer.  It is hard to find the time to volunteer and get your kids out to help others, but what you teach them will be priceless—JOY in serving others! 

Maker Bolder and Her Turf Documentary Team Up To Empower Girls

Documentary Short Film Featuring Three Female Football Referees Partners with MakerBolder for a Community Screening at the Dairy Arts Center to Empower Girls

Award-winning documentary, Her Turf the Untold Story about Three Female Football Referees, is partnering with MakerBolder a non-profit in Boulder, CO, that connects tinkerers, hackers, geeks and artists with a hands-on experiences through STEAM Fest, Girls Explore and more, for a community screening on Sunday, October 20th, at starting at 3:30 p.m. at the Dairy Arts Center in Boulder, CO. 

During this immersive and interactive community screening and event, Colorado documentarian Shantel Hansen will share her experiences making the documentary film “Her Turf” and attendees will get to view the film. Participants will get to ask questions and share their opinions and feedback about the documentary with filmmaker, Shantel Hansen. Following the discussion, participants will be introduced to storyboarding and create their own storyboards during a break-out session. 

In addition, A Maker Lab hosted by The Hopper, Talk to the Camera, and The Spark Performing and Creative Arts will precede the film and break-out activities.  Parents are encouraged to explore this exciting topic with their young film enthusiast.   

“Girls and their parents can come to this immersive film screening and see the inspiring stories of these female sports pioneers as well as learning from Shantel Hansen, a devoted storyteller and filmmaker,” says Martha Lanaghen, Maker Bolder Executive Director. “This Girls Explore event will be truly unique way for girls to explore their own storytelling passions, and tap in to their own voice.”

Hansen is a first time director and producer. She filmed in seven different locations from 2015-2018. Her Turf has been selected in sixteen different film festivals across the nation since April and won four awards including SeriesFest Best Unscripted. “We are excited to launch our community screening series focusing a grassroots efforts with an interactive tool for every voice to be heard while empowering youth of all ages,” comments Shantel Hansen. “Part of the proceeds from this screening will go towards the Gwendolyn Smith Fund that supports women referees and officials with childcare scholarships to attend training camps and clinics,” states Hansen. 

Purchase Tickets here:  http://tickets.thedairy.org/online/MakerBolder