A Helping Hand

Margaret Mead once said “Never doubt that a small group of concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Citizens, by the way, come in all ages and there are many ways that kids and teens can volunteer and make a difference. Here are some sites to get your family started on sharing the warmth of the holidays by lending a helping hand.

Care Girl5 stars

"Have you have always wanted to �Do Something' but never knew what to do or how to go about it? Then this is the place for you. Care Girl can help you to turn your ideas into reality." Care Girl features interviews, links to organizations and real-life stories from the trenches: "Nadine had really been looking forward to working with cute little babies, and the idea of spending ten hours with the elderly didn't exactly thrill her at first." Want to share your volunteer story? Look for the bulletin board link in the middle of the She Cares page.

Kids Can Make a Difference5 stars

"Inspiring kids to end hunger and poverty in their communities, their country and their world." Highlights of this site designed for middle- and high-school students are the Hunger Facts, Hunger Quiz, and an archive of the Kids Can Make a Difference print newsletter (don't miss the wonderful student stories). The best click, however, is the What Kids Can Do page. Teachers wanting to incorporate the program into their classrooms can order a printed Teachers Guide for $26.

Kids Care5 stars

"Our mission is to develop the spirit of compassion and volunteerism in children. To that end, we provide children, families, schools and religious groups with meaningful opportunities to help others in their local and global communities." Great ideas to be found here include starting a Kids Care Club at your school, making a Holiday Hope Chest and dropping it off at a Toys for Tots receptacle, or filling a brand new backpack with school supplies for Kosovo refugee children being resettled in Portland, Maine.

Nickelodeon Big Help5 stars

Nickelodeon holds their Big Help-a-thon in April, when thousands kids from all across the country call in to pledge community service hours to projects such as "Make your mark. Help your park." But there is plenty of material here that is useful year round. What I like best are the step-by-step instructions on choosing an undertaking, getting help from grown-ups, and spreading the word about your project. Click on How to Help Toolkit. You'll see the clickable list of seven steps on the left-hand side.

Project Ideas National Youth Service Day5 stars

Youth Service America sponsors National Youth Service Day each year in April "to empower young people, highlighting their ongoing contributions to their communities and mobilizing their energy, commitment, and idealism through sustainable service." This project page simply lists dozens of great ideas ("Collect grocery coupons to give a local food bank ." "Paint a mural over graffiti." "Pick up medicine for an elderly person." ) for anyone, young or old, looking to make a difference.

Honorable Mentions

The following links are either new discoveries or sites that didn't make it into my newspaper column because of space constraints. Enjoy!


Volunteer Match

Youth in Action Network

Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "A Helping Hand." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 8 Dec. 1999. Web. 2 Sep. 2015. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/resources/volunteer/ >.

About This Page

By . Originally published December 8, 1999. Last modified December 8, 1999.

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