To accompany our article on "Kids Who Care," here are Websites that offer ways for families to get involved in volunteering. These sites have been carefully evaluated for Parents.com by a team of professors and students at Tufts University in Medford, Mass.
Listed below are top places on the Internet to learn about volunteering, including listings of opportunities, tips for volunteers, and personal stories. The academic team at the Tufts University Child & Family WebGuide recommended these sites based on the organizations sponsoring them and the usefulness of the information they present.
Volunteer Match allows users to search by zip code for volunteer opportunities throughout the United States. You can tailor your search by interest, such as crisis support, education, homelessness, hunger or international, or to find specific organizations such as Big Brother/Big Sister. The opportunities are marked with special icons if kids, teens, seniors or groups are especially welcome to volunteer. Users can subscribe to a monthly e-newsletter or read news stories about volunteering. There is a special section for "virtual volunteering" opportunities.
Network for Good
The Network for Good offers information and opportunities for volunteering, donations, and advocacy. You can search for volunteer opportunities by zip code, by age of volunteer (kids and teens are welcome), and by interest, such as animals, arts, education or health. Users can read volunteers' personal storiesor an article on "10 Tips for Volunteering Wisely.". A special section on "Crisis Relief" gives information about current needs for volunteers and donations.
Dedicated to building the "character and competence of our nation's youth" and founded by General Colin Powell, America's Promise offers volunteer opportunities such as mentoring, working with youth groups, and helping in classrooms or in museums. In the "Young Leaders" section, kids can learn about the special role they play when they volunteer.
Points of Light Foundation and Volunteer Center National Network
Visitors can click a state on a U.S. map) to find "volunteer centers" within each state that offer volunteering opportunities. A special section, "Family Matters," highlights volunteering as a family, with suggestions on how to participate in "National Family Volunteer Day."
SERVEnet allows you to pinpoint exactly the volunteer opportunity you want. The database allows you to search by zip code, city, state, or country. You can also include your preferences for how long or often you want to help, your skills or special interests, and the population you want to serve, such as children, families, seniors, or physically challenged individuals. Opportunities are available for all ages. A link on the home page enables the user to translate the site's pages into eight languages, including Spanish, French, Japanese and Chinese.
The Tufts University Child & Family WebGuide, funded by the William T. Grant Foundation, evaluates many kinds of Websites relating to families. Sites are rated by child development experts primarily on the basis of the authority of the authors and the sponsoring organization, and reliance on research findings. T
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