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Volunteer opportunities for kids during the holiday season

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The holiday season is a magical time of year, and it’s easy for children to get caught up in the festivities and excitement. As a parent, you may worry that your child has lost sight of the true meaning of the season.

Perhaps your child is so excited about receiving gifts that he or she doesn’t realize the importance of giving to others. But it’s never too late to instill the spirit of giving in your child. Here are some ways kids can share the holiday spirit with others.

The holiday season is the perfect time to reflect on all the blessings you and your family have and to extend a helping hand to those less fortunate.

One of the best ways your child can learn about the importance of giving is by volunteering in the community. Many organizations rely solely on the help of volunteers, and there exists a wide variety of opportunities for children. Talk to your child about his or her interests, so you can find an organization that is a good fit, and make sure your child chooses an activity that he or she enjoys. Volunteering should be fun. And set a good example: Make sure you also volunteer, whether it’s for the same organization or a different one.

If you’re not sure how to get started, don’t worry. The Volunteer Center For Anne Arundel County helps place children of all ages in volunteer activities within the community based on their interests, schedule, location, and personal preferences. (The Volunteer Center also assists adults, families, and groups.) With more than 300 registered agencies with thousands of volunteer opportunities, the Volunteer Center is an excellent resource.

“I think many busy, working parents feel that any ‘extra’ time they have should be devoted to their own kids and their activities,” says Fay R. Mauro, executive director, Volunteer Center For Anne Arundel County. “But making sure children are compassionate and aware of the world outside their own backyard is important in these tough times. How can a child learn if her parents don’t set the example?”

The following are just a few organizations that may interest your child this holiday season. And don’t forget: Although the holidays are a great time to volunteer, volunteers are needed year round. Encourage your child to make volunteering a lifelong habit.

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