Volunteering for Children and Youth

This month our middle and high school groups have each worked to help make this a community where no one goes hungry.
Our High School youth joined with adult members of OUUC to serve dinner at the Community Kitchen. This is a fantastic way to directly serve and welcome folks in for a warm meal.
Our Middle School youth volunteered at the Food Bank, helping to sort and pack the food for the Thanksgiving boxes. We were given the job of produce, and spent two hours working as fast as we could to put apples, potatoes, and onions in bags – it was a workout!
This was our way of sharing our abundance this month.
Interested in volunteering with your kids?
1. Here are some good tips about volunteering with children, from PBS Kids.
2. Many local organizations have age restrictions, but families can sometimes volunteer together. If you volunteer anywhere, ask if your kids could come along with you.
3. My favorite local organization for kid-friendly volunteering is Stream Team. Also, remember that kids can volunteer at church!
4. If you are looking for a volunteer opportunity for a certain age group or interest-area, Volunteer Match is a very useful tool.
The effort you make now to sow the seeds of compassion and caring in your kids can make a big difference in their lives!

Children and Youth Respond to the Election

Like the adults in our congregation and community, the children and youth were also very concerned about the election results last week, and what they mean for our country going forward. In our middle school group, we let go of the planned lesson for that week, and instead focused on the election and how everyone was feeling about it. We went down to the Division street sidewalk and wrote some community messages of hope and love, as well.
It’s just a start. There is much still to do, and there is still a lot of fear, sadness and anger for our children and youth to process (you adults too!).
Here are a few things you can do right now with your kids:
1. Talk about how you can respond to everyday bigotry when you encounter it. I highly recommend the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Speak Up: Responding to Everyday Bigotry guide for helpful ideas about how to speak up in a variety of different situations (with family, neighbors, etc.).
2. Consider wearing a safety pin, as a sign you are a “safe” person for marginalized people. If you are going to do that, be really intentional about it. There’s a great essay about what it really means to take on that symbol, which you should read. https://isobeldebrujah.wordpress.com/2016/11/12/so-you-want-to-wear-a-safety-pin/
3. Write a letter (they are more effective than emails) to let our legislators know how you feel about a specific issue you are worried about right now (Health Care, Immigration Justice, the Paris climate change agreement, etc).
4. Talk about what citizenship means between elections. Voting matters, but it’s not the only time we speak up for what is important to us. How can we continue to be active citizens and have our voices be heard? Start by reading Teaching Tolerance’s What to Say to Kids on November 10th and the Days After.