Leading a civic life isn’t just about lending time and resources as an established adult. It’s also about involving youth, showing them that they, too, can make an impact, regardless of their age.
While young changemakers can stay involved all year long, summertime is prime time for kids to become more civically engaged. After all, school’s out, schedules tend to be more lax and there is ample time to fill with worthwhile activities. Plus, getting involved with causes you care about can be rewarding when done with those you love.
Fortunately, Points of Light has a wealth of resources for youth and families to get involved in their communities. Here are a few to get you started.
Civic Life Today
You may have heard about Points of Light’s Civic Circle, a framework we created to show people that doing good comes in many forms. But have you taken a deep dive into each element of the Civic Circle in our free digital magazine series, Civic Life Today? Points of Light partnered with The Starbucks Foundation to publish nine unique issues, including interviews and articles from leaders in the field.
Best of all, at the back of each issue you’ll find a special section devoted to Youth and Family, with additional resources to explore. You’ll also discover a Personal Action Plan section, created in partnership with HandsOn Greater Richmond, for your family members to figure out exactly how they can best leverage their time and talent for a specific cause area.
Find a Volunteer Opportunity
There are hundreds of thousands of volunteer opportunities throughout the world, just waiting for the right volunteer to step up. Some of these opportunities are in person, while others are virtual or a combination of the two. Points of Light offers the world’s largest digital network, allowing you to search for these opportunities in an intuitive, user-friendly interface. Points of Light Engage is our database listing volunteer opportunities—inside and outside of the home—that meet critical needs. You can search for volunteer projects in your local area, or get inspired by what’s happening in other areas and start your own initiative.
If you and your family haven’t tried a DIY Project, summer is a great opportunity to do so. With a variety of different kinds of projects, from creating a mobile library to cleaning up a local park to collecting old cell phones, there are ample options for kids of all ages.
Each DIY Project guide comes with an overview and a step-by-step guide, including materials and resources needed, as well as helpful tips along the way. Take special note of those “Pre-Project Discussion” questions. They can help you start a rich dialogue with your children that connects the “what” of the project to the “why.”
Celebrate Your Civic Journey
At Points of Light, we’re firm believers in the power of recognition. If your kids have taken the time to learn, grow and get more involved with causes they care about, that’s certainly worth celebrating! This celebration might look like getting ice cream after wrapping up that volunteer day, debriefing with some “wins” after completing your DIY project or maybe something even bigger.
Points of Light’s founder, President George H.W. Bush created the Daily Point of Light Award to honor ordinary individuals doing extraordinary things. If your family knows of someone in your community who is leading and lending support in the volunteer space, nominate them for a Daily Point of Light Award. (Psst – you can also hold your own “award ceremony” as a family, giving each member special recognition for something unique that they brought to your volunteer activity.)
However your family chooses to get engaged, know that you are setting a wonderful example for a life of service. Many nonprofit founders and recipients of the Daily Point of Light Award reflect on how concepts like volunteering and donating were taught early on and became ingrained in them from a young age. The seeds you’re planting today could lead your kids to a more active, civically engaged life for decades to come.