I love the idea of getting my kids to help out within the community, especially at this time of year. But when they’re so young, it’s not always easy to find projects that they can connect with and find meaning in. So when my friend Vanessa told me about how she and her children were participating in Volunteer New York’s Birthday Giving Project, I was excited – what kid doesn’t totally identify with birthdays?
The idea is so simple, and it’s also something fun to do in the house on a rainy (or snowy!) day. You and your kids make a “birthday celebration box” for a child in need by wrapping a shoe box, then filling it with items for putting together a birthday party (cake mix, streamers, candles, a couple of small gifts – here is the suggested list). You can choose the gender and age of the intended recipient.
Boxes can be dropped off at the Tarrytown branch of Volunteer New York, and they’ll go to a specific local nonprofit, such as Hope’s Door of Pleasantville, Mamaroneck Child Development Center, or Boys and Girls Club of Mount Vernon. My kids had fun going to the store and picking out the contents of the box, but their favorite parts were actually making birthday cards and, of course, going to town on the wrapping paper and scotch tape!
More details can be found at Volunteer New York’s Birthday Giving Project page. Also check out the organization’s list of holiday volunteering opportunities for Westchester-based food, toy and coat drives.
Volunteer New York, 220 White Plains Road, 2nd Floor, Tarrytown; 914-948-4452