Want a few positive outcomes from volunteering with your child? Here are just a few: promote belonging within your community, forge stronger family connections through service projects, cultivate a grateful heart, and develop empathy.
Although you may consider volunteering an activity for teens and adults, there are actually plenty of opportunities for young children, too.
Autism Society Central VA
ASCV needs volunteers for programs like Inclusive LEGO Club, Pickleball, and Coding Workshops. Be sure to check age restrictions, as some volunteer positions have a minimum age. Simply sign up online to make an impact in the lives of those served by ASCV.
Bryan Park Clean-up
The Friends of Bryan Park supply trash pickers, bags, and gloves to make service easy. This
park is beautiful; allowing you to take in the scenery while working.
Clean-up supplies are located by the shed near the playground.
Cards for Hospitalized Kids
Gather colored pencils, markers, and crayons and decorate cards for children in hospitals
around the United States. Even the littlest helpers can be involved by putting stickers on!The organization asks for no glitter or materials that could come off the cards. Find out more:
Chesterfield Food Bank
My daughter loves volunteering her time with the CFB. Typically, she gets to distribute bread to other volunteers, who are filling carts that will go out to the cars.
A Friday night distribution often lasts 2 or more hours, so this is for children five and older. Alternatively, there are distributions on Saturdays during the day. I suggest working with your child’s sports team or club to coordinate a group service event.
Children’s Museum of Richmond
Children ages 11 and up can volunteer with their families at CMoR. If your child loves art, consider volunteering as an Art Studio Assistant. Other opportunities include: Exhibit Buddy, Art Studio Assistant, and at Special Events.
Friendship Circle celebrates the differences and similarities of each person, while promoting an inclusive community. Friendship Circle offers social opportunities and facilitates friendships for those with and without disabilities.
Friendship Circle encourages teens without disabilities to join and volunteer by getting to know a friend with a disability at one of their events. The main requirement is being a caring friend.
Teen volunteers can serve on the Friendship Circle Board, volunteer at Monthly Birthday Circles, or Join the Friends @ Home Program.
Little Free Library
Little libraries are all over, but many people are not familiar with how they began.
The book, Little Libraries, Big Heroes by Miranda Paul tells the story of an ordinary person who had an extraordinary dream to help others; thus developing the Little Free Library. After reading the book, ask your child to choose a few books from home to donate to the Little Free Library nearest your home. A map, searchable by zip code can be found at: https://littlefreelibrary.org/ourmap/.
If the Little Free Library is close enough to visit, check back and see if the books are gone. If they are, congratulate your child! “What an amazing thing you did! Now another friend is getting to read that book!”
Ronald McDonald House
Recently, my daughter and I made no-sew fleece blankets for families who will be staying at Ronald McDonald House while their children receive medical treatment.
For a young child, this project is time consuming, so consider breaking it into several weeks.
There are many ways, big and small, to get children involved in serving the Richmond community.
Volunteer with your children, ages 6+ at Shalom Farms, a farm that grows produce for area families. In fact, Shalom Farms provides free produce to Richmond families every week. Volunteer duties include: planting, harvesting, packing produce, sorting and more.
There are two farms: one in Powhatan and one in Northside. Enthusiastic volunteers may consider the role of Lead Volunteer, volunteering for at least one shift per work across the entire growing season on both the farms and Mobile Markets.
With its strong community ties, Richmond offers plenty of ways for families to serve others.