Giving back to your community is always a good thing, and getting your family involved in projects is even better. Starting your kids out young will help instill important values of charity in them, and volunteering can make for a great way to spend quality time together. Finding opportunities for the whole family can sometimes be challenging, however, so we rounded up a list of way you can help out some of your favorite local charities.
Keepin’ It Weird AND Beautiful
Keep Austin Beautiful is a non-profit service organization with five areas of focus including Clean, Beautify, Recycle, Educate and Recognize. These pillars drive their mission to engage citizens in building more beautiful communities. They offer ongoing volunteer opportunities, most of which are clean-ups throughout the city. All ages are welcome with adult supervision at many of their events. Check out the event calendar and to get more information.
And if your family enjoys working on beautifying and cleaning projects, Austin Park Foundation hosts It’s My Park Day twice per year as a citywide project to help keep Austin parks cleaned up.
Farmers In Training
The Green Corn Project is a super cool organization that seeks to educate and assist Central Texans in growing organic food gardens. Don’t worry if you are not an avid gardener — a green thumb is not required. Dig-ins are their primary mission and they are kid friendly and FUN! This is a fantastic opportunity to learn the basics of growing while giving! Take a look around their website for contact information regarding groups and dates for dig-ins and other volunteer opportunities.
For The Crafty And Caring
Youth2Seniors is a non-profit organization serving Central Texas by bridging the gap between generations by way of art and giving. Saturday art programs are free and run from 10 a.m. to noon (registration is required and locations vary). Adults can volunteer as program leaders, run events, or donate special talents like marketing or newsletter production. Older youth can participate by volunteering and work up to being a program leader. They offer reward programs for participants through the Operation Give Back program. They also provide a forum to suggest projects when you are feeling especially creative. It’s a win-win-win-win. Check out their website for program dates and schedules.
For The Family That Fights
Good parenting never encourages fighting. Unless you are fighting against hunger, of course! The Central Texas Food Bank is the largest hunger relief charity in Central Texas. They work to educate about healthy eating and provide free food to families in need. Families can work in the garden, food pantry, warehouse, or kitchen. Ongoing opportunities for volunteers are available for kids ages 8 and up. Volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a chaperone who is 21 years of age or older. Find out more about group volunteering on their website.
Families Supporting Families
Ronald McDonald House Charities is known nationwide for supporting families when children are sick and injured. RMHC of Central Texas is in constant need of volunteers to support their programs including the Ronald McDonald House, Family Rooms, The Healing Hearts Program, and their Happy Wheels Carts. To find out more about family and group volunteering, visit their website for more information on programs and opportunities.
Helping From Home
If you are looking for a family activity to do at home, The Volunteer Center of Round Rock is in need of hygiene kits that are distributed to schools, shelters, and crisis centers throughout the county. There is an ongoing need for these kits and any age can contribute since you can assemble them in the comfort of your own home! Littles can learn sorting skills and teens can earn service hours for each completed kit. Here’s more information on how to get started.
Foundation Communities owns and operates 22 communities in Austin and North Texas. They provide affordable housing and on-site support services for thousands of families. At some of their sites, each new resident is given a welcome basket with basic necessities as they transition out of homelessness and into their new residence. Purchasing, assembling, and delivering the baskets is an ongoing need and is a great group project for parents and kids, or even your whole neighborhood to do together. They would love a 6-month basket commitment but they are also grateful for one-time basket contributions as well. For more information, check their website.
Helping our Four Legged Friends
If Furry Philanthropy is your thing, Austin Pets Alive! has volunteer opportunities for kids ages 12 and up. Opportunities include anything from caring for animals to working in the APA Thrift Store. Both youth and parent must fill out individual volunteer applications, and a parent waiver must be completed prior to volunteering. Youth ages twelve to fifteen must be accompanied by a parent and volunteers age sixteen and older may volunteer without. A registration fee And orientation are required for all volunteers and those accompanying minors. You will receive a cool volunteer t-shirt and proceeds from the registration fees still help animals! Austin Pets Alive! asks for volunteers to commit to at least six hours of service per month and they maintain a very high level management program to keep their volunteers informed and recognized for their service.
The Dog Alliance (formerly the Austin Dog Alliance) is located in Cedar Park and is dedicated to improving lives by harnessing the therapeutic power of dogs. They train and pair service dogs with individuals and programs for therapy purposes. Volunteering opportunities include programs like Hounds for Heroes, Bow Wow Reading Dogs, and Special Events and are open to ages 8 and older. Visit their website to find out more about registration ($35 fee that includes a t-shirt, insurance, and access to special volunteer events) and available opportunities.
The mission of Generation Serve is to engage children in volunteerism and empower them to make a difference in their communities. You can register to volunteer with them and search tons of monthly opportunities that are located all over the city! Look for scheduled events or take a look at their suggested Group Resource Page for ideas on how to serve your local community and links to organizations with additional opportunities.
Featured photo by Keep Austin Beautiful.