by Judy Mullican
There is no greater joy than the joy we feel when we show kindness to others. When we provide opportunities for children to help others, they feel a greater connection to the community and can experience the joy of giving. There are many ways children can help throughout the year, but there are often special opportunities during this festive season. Look around your community and you will likely see many possible ways the children can help! Here are a few suggestions to consider:
- Practice singing some of the children’s favorite songs. Those with actions would be especially fun! Arrange to visit a senior center or assisted living center to sing.
- Decorate a large box or basket and set it near the door to your room. Invite families to bring in canned goods or other nonperishable foods. Take the food to a local food bank.
- Contact your local Red Cross to see if they are participating in the Holiday Mail for Heroes program. If so, gather a variety of art materials and invite the children to create cards to send to soldiers who are overseas. Find out more about the program at: www.redcross.org/support/get-involved/holiday-mail-for-heroes
- Collect new or gently used toys or clothing for a local agency. These are often needed at agencies that serve victims of abuse. They may also be welcomed at thrift stores that raise money for community needs.
- Gather picture books to donate to the local library.
- Bake cookies or work together to prepare a fruit basket to give to someone who has been a good friend to your group. The children may decide to give the cookies to your letter carrier, the librarian, the sanitation workers who collect your trash, or anyone they see regularly. Another option would be to take the treats to the local fire department or police department.
Whichever project you choose, you will be helping the children understand the importance of community service and encouraging what may become lifelong habits of caring and sharing.