Have you ever wondered what it’s like to volunteer with children? Volunteering in childcare has awesome perks and its not only because kids can be so darn cute! Here are 10 Incredible Things About Volunteering With Children!
To kids, you are the human equivalent of the miraculous non-crushed, completely intact crisp in the potato chip bag, the feeling of when you wake up a minute before your alarm is set to go off, and even the momentary sound of silence as you drive under a bridge in the pouring rain. In short, you rock. And the best part? You are the greatest, purely because you are yourself.
When I was four, my parents gave me a new toy for my birthday. Within five minutes of receiving this new plaything, my older sister stole it, leaving me with the empty cardboard box it came in. Remarkably, I could not have been happier playing with that box. Children see every object and every activity as an opportunity to enjoy life and this perspective often rubs off on those spending time with them. When volunteering with children, you begin to remember how to celebrate the little things in life.
Some of us in life are fortunate enough to have memorable names. I’m talking about you: the Jacks, Emmas, and Julias of the world. On the other hand, there are those with names that are longer than two syllables, that don’t translate well to other languages, or that are flat out hard to pronounce. These people live an alternate lifestyle which, more often than not, includes repeating their name way too many times before a new acquaintance remembers it. So, when the kids you volunteer with finally remember your name without having to ask for it? A true simple pleasure.
If you’ve ever worked with kids, you know which greeting I’m talking about. The one where they see you and start sprinting as if they just remembered that they’re in the Boston Marathon and you’re the finish line. The one where they hug you so tightly you wonder if they became weight-lifting champions overnight. The one that takes the phrase “holding on for dear life” to another level. THAT greeting.
Life isn’t always easy, but what is easy is pushing your problems to the back of your mind when you work with kids. You might have a million things running through your head; but, as soon as you step into work, they’re gone. It’s hard not to lose yourself in your work: it’s beautifully exhaustive and requires all of your attention. You are forced to put your all your energy into the present and, for a few hours, the outside world does not matter.
If “laughter is the best medicine”, then a hearing a child laugh is like being pumped with hospital-grade morphine. A child’s laughter is magical – not only do they laugh at the smallest things, but their laugh is unbelievably contagious. When one of them starts giggling, it’s a domino effect and you are most definitely in the line of fire.
You may not always want to admit it, but some ventures never get old. Timeless activities such as building forts, coloring with crayons, jumping rope, and making friendship bracelets are always a blast. Yet, daily life at home doesn’t always include snack time or tie-dying shirts. However, now you’re back in your youthful element and you are thriving. Musical chairs, here you come.
The craziest scene that you can ever witness is the five minutes after a child gets a minor injury. Typically, one minute they’re hysterically crying and the next they’re back to running around with their friends, the largest smile plastered on their face. Volunteering with kids will remind you that even if life is not working out like you want it to right now, everything is going to be alright.
It’s easy to fall into a pattern where life seems stagnant. But, when you work with kids, you realize the value in time. In one day, they can lose that tooth that has been bugging them for so long. In one week, they can master the ability to tie their shoes. In one month, they can learn how to swim. It is unbelievably rewarding to be alongside them as they learn to spread their wings and fly.
Looking back on your experience of volunteering with children, there will be a lot to remember: the hilarious situations your kids got into, all the new friends you made, and how much you changed over time. But, what will stick with you most will be the feeling that YOU made a difference in the world. Volunteering is not always easy and it’s not always luxurious; but, the feeling of accomplishment you get from it is priceless. You are a champion, a do-gooder, an absolute rockstar and don’t you ever forget it.
Interested in volunteering and making a difference in the lives of children? GivingWay offers a multitude of life-changing volunteer opportunities. And if volunteering with children isn’t your thing, don’t worry — we still have plenty of other opportunities waiting for you. Especially to those cat and dog lovers, animal volunteering positions may be a better fit!
Written by: Zoe Sadugor, a third year at the University of Virginia studying Youth and Social Innovation.
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