With the kids out of school for summer, filling long summer days can be a daunting task. As a mom of five sons, keeping my boys engaged in positive activities throughout the summer (and minimizing video game play), has definitely been a challenge.
Volunteering Together is FUN!
Volunteering together has been a great activity to get us all out of the house and doing something positive. We’ve passed out food at “The Caring Place” in Georgetown and stuffed backpacks for “The Backpack Coalition” in Round Rock. Even if my boys go along grudgingly, they always end of having a great time volunteering.
Non-Profits Desperately Need Summer Volunteers
Summer months can be especially tough for non-profit organizations in Central Texas. Donations are generally down during the summer and many regular volunteers are out of town. So most organizations are thrilled to have new help.
But How Do I Know Where to Volunteer?
One simple way to find out where to volunteer is by going to a new website: JustServe.org. The site connects non-profit organizations that have volunteer needs with those who would like to volunteer in the community.
There are tons of places to volunteer in Central Texas, but here are a few ideas of ways you and your children can volunteer this summer:
- Sunken Gardens (Georgetown): If you enjoy working outdoors, the City of Georgetown’s Urban Forestry Department could use your time and talents! Bring gloves and some water and enjoy sprucing up the gardens with your kids.
- One Million Pillowcase Challenge (at home): If your kids want to learn how to sew and need simple projects, help them sew pillow cases for this organization. This is a great way to give service even when you can’t get out of the house.
- Feed My Sheep (Temple): This food pantry provides food and basic necessities for the homeless/needy individuals. They welcome volunteers of all ages and there are a variety of ways to volunteer.
- Trail and Park Cleanup (Pflugerville): Contact the Pflugerville Parks & Rec Department and they’ll give your family instructions and materials to care for the City trails and parks.
- The Caring Place (Georgetown): Children ages 10 and up can volunteer with parents here. The Caring Place serves food to 300-350 families on the first, third and fifth Monday each month from 7:45-10 a.m.
- Round Rock Adult Day Health Center (Round Rock): Let your kids assist the program staff in conducting activities for seniors such as art, exercise and games. When you fill out the online volunteer application, simply indicate interest in bringing along your children.
- Meals on Wheels (Austin area): Delivering meals to home-bound seniors for “Meals on Wheels” is a lot of fun. Of course, the adult is the main volunteer, but the clients melt when a little child hands them their meal at the door.
- Fresh Food for Families (Round Rock): Volunteers of all ages are needed to help pass out food at the Round Rock Area Serving Center on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Thursday of each month. Just show up and help!
We may not be able to solve all of the world’s problems, but we can start by helping someone. My hope is that volunteering will become a way of life for my children and they will recognize the difference they can make in their community.
Colette M. and her family have lived in the Austin area since 1999. When she’s not watching her boys play soccer, baseball, or performing with school bands, she can be found volunteering around town. She’s a regular at The Storehouse in Pflugerville and with PFISD Schools. Lately she has become passionate about helping non-profits connect with volunteers through JustServe.org.