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During the winter months, we are strongly encouraged to get involved in our community and participate in the “season of giving”, however, community involvement is welcomed and needed year round. Although there are a number of summer volunteer abroad programs, there are plenty of opportunities close to home. Whether you have a teenager who needs something to do this summer or you find that you have a little extra time on your hands, the summer season is the perfect time to volunteer and help out others in your community. Want to get started? Here are some ideas:
Garage Sales & Lemonade Stands
Summer wouldn’t be the same without a garage sale or a lemonade stand. Not only is it a great way to clean out the house and garage, but your proceeds (or a portion of them) can go to a charity of your choice. Want to boost your sales? Make a some signs that state where the proceeds will go (ie. local animal shelter, food shelf), you may find that many of your shoppers are eager to support you and even offer a monetary donation.
Don’t forget to get the kids involved, too. Kids love having lemonade stands, but rather than making it a strictly money making opportunity for them, let them pick a charity of their choice to donate a portion of their proceeds. For example, if your child loves animals, encourage him or her to use money to buy dog and cat food for the local animal shelter.
Once summer arrives, it’s likely that you’ll want to spend most of your time outdoors. While you’re enjoying the great outdoors, take the opportunity to help out around your community by picking up trash while you’re on a walk, help an elderly or disabled neighbor with yard work, volunteer to pull weeds at a community garden, or beautify your neighborhood with some potted flowers or an inspirational message written in chalk on the sidewalk in front of your house.
Giving Back to the Community
During the summertime, there are numerous events happening throughout your community that raise funds or awareness for various organizations. Whether you attend or volunteer at an event, you are giving back to your community. Ways to help out includes, but is not limited to, attending or volunteering at a blood drive, volunteering at sporting events (such as Special Olympics), or join the planning committee for a community event such as a marathon or wellness fair.
Ways for Your Teen to Get Involved
For many teens, summer is an “idle” time, leaving many parents frustrated. Rather than making your summer vacation a battle between you and your teen, encourage your son or daughter to get involved in the community. Whether he or she chooses to get an internship or joins you when you volunteer, not only will it fill the “boring” hours of the day, but it’s a great way to make connections in the community and it is important information to add to a college application.