A great way for families to spend quality time together is through service-oriented activities that teach young children the importance of giving back to their communities while they are still at an impressionable age. Did you know that children between the ages of 5 and 14 are seldom considered for volunteer opportunities? Often perceived as recipients of community services, society rarely gives its youngest citizens the chance to give back with their own contributions. Allowing children to become volunteers helps them build a sense of self-worth while teaching them valuable lifelong skills and promoting a healthy lifestyle, especially through family-friendly outdoor volunteer opportunities where parents can lead by example.
Photo Gallery: Best After School Activities For Kids
Heal The Bay
1444 9th St.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Through Heal the Bay, an organization committed to keeping our coastal waters clean, healthy and safe from pollutants, whole families can participate in monthly beach clean-ups every third Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to noon. Every volunteer must complete and sign a liability waiver, especially volunteers under 18 years of age who must have their waivers signed by a parent or legal guardian. Heal the Bay will provide your family with all the essentials you need, such as gloves, trash bags and recycle bags. All your family will need to bring are water, snacks and sunscreen. Be sure to wear closed shoes to avoid the risk of stubbing your toes on any sharp trash burrowed in the sand.
The Amanda Foundation
351 Foothill Road
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
For kids who absolutely love animals, The Amanda Foundation rescues dogs and cats during their final days at local shelters before they face euthanization. The organization is always in need of volunteers for dog walking and socializing with the cats, puppies and kittens. In order to be dog-walking volunteer, you must be over 18 and attend a new volunteer orientation, which happens every first Saturday of the month at 11 a.m. After than, you can volunteer any time of the week between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Bringing your little one is presumed to be at your own liability, but The Amanda Foundation has a special volunteer opportunity specifically for them which they can implement while on a dog walk with mom or dad.
12601 Mulholland Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
As an environmental non-profit organization, Tree People promotes natural sustenance by connecting trees and people. The central focus of the organization lies in the planting and caring of trees, which contributes to cleaner air and helps regulate our water supply. If you’re a parent that supports the movement toward a greener world and would like to teach your children about the importance of protecting the environment, then Tree People is a fun way for children to learn about things they can to do help the environment, starting with how to plant and care for trees. As a family, you and your kids can enjoy the outdoors of sunny Los Angeles while doing some good and planting trees in local parks, city streets and other areas of Los Angeles in need of sustainable solutions.
Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy
916 Silver Spur Road, #207
Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90277
Another great family-friendly outdoor volunteer opportunity is through the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy, which is an organization that preserves natural environments and protects its inhabitants from commercial or residential development. These open spaces provide a place of serenity for its local residents to escape the usual hustle and bustle of life and enjoy the great outdoors of nature’s finest. The Conservancy offers periodic outdoor volunteer opportunities throughout the year that involve planting shrubs or removing weeds from the land. Volunteer days are usually on Saturdays at 9 a.m. but a schedule of volunteer activities with more information can be found on the website.
Santa Clarita Woodland Park
24255 The Old Road
Newhall, CA 91381
Santa Clarita Woodland Park offers a great outdoor volunteer opportunity that is fun for families and feels more like a hiking adventure. Park coordinators are always in need of volunteers for special work days that involve maintaining and restoring park trails. Some projects are more labor intensive than others, such as the restoration of historic sites or building trails, but others can be as relaxing as simply picking up trash found along the hiking trails, all while going on a fun-filled hike with the family. It’s a win-win for everyone involved. It’s also a great way to stay active and enjoy the outdoors.
Niki Payne is a freelance writer covering all things Entertainment in Los Angeles. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.