Heather Jack was looking for a charity where she and her then 4-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son could help the disabled. While plenty were eager for Jack's help, few were interested in such young volunteers. “I took matters into my own hands and found a local family with a son suffering from muscular dystrophy, and we ‘adopted’ them, sharing dinner together in their home once a month.” Jack went on to launch The Volunteer Family to help families find charitable opportunities they can do together. “Even at their young ages, I saw the value in having my kids help others. They learned to see their new pal not as a disabled person who was different from them, but as their friend.”
Kids as young as three can learn EMPATHY, TOLERANCE, AND RESPECT by helping the disabled.There's a big bonus to volunteering to help the challenged: “Kids as young as three can learn empathy, tolerance, and respect by spending time with special-needs kids,” says parenting expert Michele Borba, Ed.D.
The key is to do it as a family. Research shows that kids with at least one parent who volunteers are three times more likely to participate in a do-good activity versus those whose parents don't get involved. Here are three charities that welcome the entire gang:
Easter Seals Tap into one of the 75 local affiliates that offer various services, such as respite for families with special-needs kids, giving well-deserving parents a break.
Miracle League This sports league evens the playing field by pairing your budding A-Rod or D-Wade with a player with disabilities.
Special Olympics With more than 50,000 events held every year, your kids can cheer on these extraordinary athletes from the sidelines, while you serve as a coach or official on the field.