Teen Volunteer Expert Encourages Volunteering for Holidays

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15 year old author gives advice on how kids can learn the spirit of giving during the holidays.Practical ideas from teen volunteer expert Sondra Clark on how to reach out to others.

With holidays approaching, parents look for ways to encourage a spirit of giving in their children. This year, take the advice of 15 year old Sondra Clark and encourage children to spend their time helping a worthy cause. With a little adult supervision, children quickly learn the inner satisfaction that comes with helping improve the lives of people, the environment or animals. Sondra, the author of five books and a frequent guest on television, raised over $75,000 after visiting Africa and meeting Aids orphans. “When I saw kids in Africa my age living alone because their parents had died, I knew I had to help them”, said Sondra.

The following are some simple volunteer activities suggested by Sondra in her book, You Can Change Your World! which describes 150 volunteer projects.

• Bedtime Snack Sacks

Children living in homeless shelters seldom get bedtime snacks. Decorate a number of lunch bags with markers, sequins and glitter. Fill each bag with a juice pack and non-perishable treat such as granola bars, packaged crackers or dried fruit. Add a small “Happy Meals” type toy as a surprise. Deliver the snack sacks to a women’s shelter.

• Dog and Cat Fun

Local humane societies look for volunteers to walk their dogs. See if your family can register as dog walkers. You’ll get exercise as well as the dogs! Kids can also collect old towels and newspapers to donate to shelters to use for animal care.

• Entertainment

Do your children have dramatic or musical talents? Encourage them to practice a skit, song or musical piece with their friends. Offer to present a “talent show” to a local nursing home.

• Bring A Book Drive

Collect gently used children’s books from family and friends. Give the books to an inner city school or Headstart program to expand their library.

When not writing books, Sondra stays active with various volunteer programs. She recently contacted community business people to donate soap, shampoo, toothpaste and toys so she could put together 200 “Goody Bags” for orphans in Africa. “The holidays are a great time for being with family and exchanging gifts,” she said. “But it’s also a great time for kids to think about others and get involved with volunteer projects.”

More information: silvanac@msn.com

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