Cleveland boasts dozens of non-profit and volunteer organizations that invite kids to help out right in their own backyards. There’s no minimum age requirement when it comes to teaching children to be grateful for what they have and to learn the importance of improving their community. Working side by side with your child is not only one of the most effective forms of teaching them, it also offers a rewarding bonding experience. Whether it’s planting a garden, starting a recycling or fundraising, there are many ways for kids to get involved in community projects right here in Cleveland.
1550 S. Waterloo Rd.
Cleveland, OH 44110
Hours: Mon to Thurs – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Fri – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sat – 8 a.m. to noon
Minimum Age to Volunteer: 12
The Cleveland Foodbank is the leading hunger-relief program in the region. Its employees and volunteers work tirelessly and diligently to ensure that the Greater Cleveland community has the nutritious food it needs every day, and its goal for 2014 is to provide 50 million meals each year. Adults are welcome to join their children in sorting and packing donated and prepared food and meals from Monday to Saturday. Holidays, including Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas provide an excellent opportunity for the entire family to get involved, work side by side and reap the rewards of togetherness. Click here to sign up for a shift.
Cleveland Habitat for Humanity
2110 W. 110th St.
Cleveland, OH 44102
Minimum Age to Volunteer: 14; must be 16 to work on an active construction site
A global organization, Habitat for Cleveland assists area families in obtaining affordable homes using a well-organized team of volunteers from scout groups, youth groups and families. Kids are invited to get involved by sponsoring and participating in bake sales, athletic events, car washes, tool drives and any number of creative activities to raise funds. Check its website for a listing of needs, requirements and ways to contribute to the cause.
The Gathering Place
The Gathering Place (East)
The Arnold and Sydell Miller Family Campus
23300 Commerce Park
Beachwood, OH 44122
Hours: Mon to Fri – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sat – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Gathering Place (West)
800 Sharon Dr.
Westlake, OH 44145
Hours: Mon to Fri – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Minimum Age to Volunteer: 16 to volunteer with animal camp and childcare; children of any age may fundraise with a parent’s supervision
The Gathering Place is a Cleveland-based organization offering free programs, services and literature to assist families in coping with and facing the realities of cancer. Young children may participate with the assistance of adults in creating fundraising opportunities to provide books, toys and wigs (a new program) for cancer patients and their families.
The Jewish Federation of Cleveland
25701 Science Park Dr.
Cleveland, OH 44122
(888) 467-1125 (toll free) or to volunteer, (216) 593-2900, ext. 130
Hours: Mon to Thurs – 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Fri – 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Minimum Age to Volunteer: high school juniors and seniors
Tikkun Olam means repairing the world in Hebrew, and that’s the goal of volunteers at The Jewish Federation of Cleveland. Here Cleveland teens visit and play games with area hospital patients, assist in the family kitchen or work with children. High school juniors and seniors may participate through The Saltzman Youth Panel as well, which teaches the value of philanthropy and outreach to help Jewish families and members of the general community through organized volunteer programs.
11100 Euclid Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44106
(216) 844-8447 or (888) 844-8447 (toll free)
Hours: summer only Mon to Fri – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Minimum Age to Volunteer: 15
University Hospitals has established an eight-week summer volunteer program, Teen Scene, designed especially for teens age 15 through graduation, at the UH Case Medical Center. This unique opportunity teaches leadership and communications skills in a hospital environment, where teens give back to the community by reading to infants and children, working in the gift shop or pushing the book cart. The program fills up fast, as space is limited, so teens who wish to volunteer must apply early and be prepared to devote three to four, never more than 12, hours a week to volunteering at the hospital. The program offers a certificate upon completion of the program requirements, a letter of recommendation and scholarship opportunities.
With more than twenty years of writing experience to her credit, Ellen Jacob, “The Ultimate Grammy”, provides anecdotal hints and how-tos on fun, inspiring, sociable, creative, and educational activities to plan and do with young grandchildren as well as articles of interest to seniors and aging boomers. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.