100 Ways We Can Help Children

-from The Rotarian, March 1999

How can we help children, the torchbearers for the world's future? For starters, here's a list of l00 suggestions. There are countless ways, of course, most of them surprisingly easy. All it takes is a little time, a little effort--and a lot of love. Many of these actions will inspire our children.

1. Take a child to a zoo, museum, or amusement park.

2. Volunteer to be a Big Brother or Big Sister to a child from a single-parent family.

3. Provide children with opportunities for diversity; let them interact with kids who have disabilities, or are of different religious, racial, or ethnic backgrounds.

4. Help them establish goals for their studies, careers, and lives in general.

5. Instill in them belief and pride in their own capabilities.

6. Invite single parents and their children to attend your club's family-oriented activities.

7. Be a good listener whenever you talk with a child so that they feel heard and worthy of your attention.

8. Offer to babysit for your single-parent relatives and friends.

9. Read to children often.

10. Take a child outside and show them the wonders to be found in a patch of grass, garden, or yard.

ll. Teach children a skill they will have for a lifetime, such as drawing, swimming, or dancing.

12. Arrange for local churches, schools, and other facilities to serve as shelters for homeless children and their families when not in use.

13. Help instill in children the concept of service to others by taking them on a field trip to a Rotary club service project, such as an orphanage, soup kitchen, nursing home.

14. Help establish a quality day-care program for children of single, low-income parents who work or are looking for work.

15. Help impoverished city children broaden their perspective and enrich their lives by taking them for a day in the country, highlighting activities such as hiking, swimming, fishing, or canoeing.

16. Sponsor a career day at a school in an impoverished area. Invite children who express an interest to accompany Rotarians to their workplaces for part of a day.

17. Tell your children you love them at least once a day, every day.

18. When you put your child to bed at night, say at least one thing about them that made you proud that day and stress that they should be proud of themselves.

19. Help a child start a collection of something--postage stamps, coins, books--to develop an interest and provide a recreational focus.

20. Take a disadvantaged child out for a special day and let the child pick where to eat and what activity to enjoy.

21. Form a music band in which all the children are "stars."

22. Bring musicians, clowns, or magicians to a hospital or orphanage.

23. Be a good role model. Treat others with dignity and respect and expect children to act the same.

24. Spend less at the holidays on self and family and "adopt" a needy child or family instead.

25. Take children to a nearby forest or nature preserve and teach them about ecological diversity.

26. Provide a day-care scholarship to assist a working single mother.

27. Provide children with disabilities experiences they usually can't participate in, such as horseback riding or canoeing.

28. Buy new shoes for children who are economically disadvantaged.

29. Arrange for free medical checkups for children.

30. Establish a resource center where child welfare agencies can obtain diapers, soap, and other necessities.

31. Arrange for children to have identification cards and photos in case they are lost or kidnaped.

32. Adopt a local orphanage and visit the children regularly.

33. Hold an arts festival for children, in which participants can paint, draw, sculpt, and play music.

34. Sponsor a childhood immunization campaign.

35. Recognize and honor an organization that works with children.

36. Promote family and child-friendly policies for employees in your workplace.

37. Establish a car-seat lending/rental center for families who do not own a car but occasionally need a car-seat for their children to ride in a taxi or a friend's car.

38. Work with children living in homeless or battered women's shelters. Visit them, play with them, and read to them.

39. Hold a holiday party for homeless children.

40. Donate air miles for youngsters to visit their grandparents.

41. Donate money for a needy child to participate on a sports team or learn to play a musical instrument.

42. Make a wish come true for a terminally ill child.

43. Always purchase goods and services that children are selling for a fund raising project.

44. Spend time laughing with children; laughter is a great healer.

45. Provide vocational training opportunities to poor children.

46. Assist children whose parents are HIV positive or who have AIDS.

47. Provide milk, vitamins, and protein supplements to public assistance agencies.

48. Establish "toy libraries" in nurseries, orphanages, and hospitals for visiting children.

49. Produce and distribute booklets on life-skills topics such as shopping, money management, civic responsibility, health and hygiene, parenting, and the dangers of drugs.

50. Identify children with special medical needs, enlist the pro bono services of medical specialists, and sponsor children so their needs are handled free of charge.

51. Provide funding and transportation so that low-income women can receive prenatal care.

52. Provide "first-day-of-school' packages for low income young people that include basic school supplies, new underwear, socks, shoes, or other appropriate items.

53. Provide art supplies or music lessons for a young person who shows promise but cannot afford to develop his or her talent.

54. Donate unwanted clothes, books, and toys to a shelter for abused women and children.

55. Pay school fees for promising low-income youths to attend specialized schools where their unique talents and strengths can be fostered and developed.

56. Volunteer to work and play with infants and children in the foster care system.

57. Donate tickets to plays, concerts, and movies to schools in low income areas to foster an interest in the arts.

58. Collect or donate items to be used in craft projects to nonprofit day-care provider or elementary schools.

59. Teach children the virtues of tolerance, compassion, mercy, and forgiveness.

60. Develop after school programs to help youngsters with homework or just to enjoy playtime-- especially if they are from high-crime areas.

61. Organize a "big buddies" program in which high school seniors are paired with learning disabled students for activities and outings.

62. Organize nutrition classes for pregnant teens and teenage mothers of infants.

63. Be a volunteer tutor to disadvantaged urban children.

64. Donate book to children's libraries.

65. Hug your children every day.

66. Support programs that counsel child victims of rape and incest so they can receive the care they need before developing into troubled adults.

67. Create a pal internship program at your business or place of work to encourage future generations to follow in your footsteps.

68. Encourage young entrepreneurs to develop their own businesses by providing them a small loan. for startup costs.

69. Counsel juveniles who have been, arrested for vandalism or writing graffiti and introduce them to legal, healthy, and creative outlets.

70. Volunteer at a crisis counseling center or hotline for runaway or troubled teens.

71. Donate computers and provide classes in computer skills to the students at low-income area schools.

72. Sponsor a "friendship and understanding camp" to bring together children of different ethnic, religious, and racial backgrounds.

73. Offer to coach your local children's sports team.

74. Volunteer a few hours a week in the nursery of your local church, YMCA, YWCA, or gym.

75. If you have a special skill, share it with children by teaching a class at a local community center.

76. Support mothers. Mothers invariably pass on knowledge and give their children the benefits of improved healthcare practices, literacy and numeracy, and leadership skills.

77. Give a child a tape recorder, sketch book, camera, or a musical instrument and encourage them to develop their creativity.

78. Challenge a low achiever to work for good grades by providing incentives.

79. Smile at children that you see in line at the grocery store, shopping mall, or on the street.

80. Volunteer on weekends at a child-oriented service organization.

81. Establish a food pantry for street children or a meal delivery program for financially stressed families.

82. Provide "safe homes" or havens for children with emergencies.

83. Be a volunteer tutor.

84. Become a mentor to a child and stay in touch as he or she grows up.

85. Start a pet program for children with mental disabilities or who suffer from abuse to help them learn to care for another living creature.

86. Teach children how to make a kite and then take them out to fly it.

87. Take economically advantaged children to deliver meals to the poor so they can learn about poverty and need.

88. Provide opportunities for interaction between children and the elderly so that both groups can learn to communicate across generations.

89. Teach children simple life skills such as how to make a sandwich, fry an egg, make a bed, or clean the dishes.

90. Give children an allowance to teach them how to manage money.

91. Ask a child for his or her opinion.

92. Share stories from your life with a child.

93. Make up stories for children, allowing them to participate in the development of a plot.

94. Donate your own children's old eyeglasses to an organization that will distribute them to the needy.

95. Volunteer to host a student from another country.

96. Contact a local center for homeless or foster children and volunteer to sponsor a party or an outing.

97. Sponsor a classroom pet for the local school by paying for all of its expenses.

98. Teach basic hygiene to children at the elementary school level.

99. Volunteer to hold babies at a local hospital or orphanage so that they get the proper attention and human contact to develop.

100. Become part of a literacy volunteer program and teach a child to read.

To contact Dr. Ingram, please call 305-995-1340 or e-mail ringram@dadeschools.net