Ways for Kids to Volunteer and Spread Cheer in the New Year

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Book Harvest volunteer
Book Harvest Board Member Taquoia Street and her daughter, Ivory Jade Vaughn Bey, 7, drop off books at the nonprofit.

By Elizabeth Kane

Run Your Own Book Drive

There’s nothing like the comfort of a well-loved book in your hands. Ginger Young, founder and executive director of Book Harvest, encourages families to run a book drive. She recommends motivating the kids to create some of their own signs to advertise the event around the neighborhood. Then set up a box and choose a place that’s easy for people to drop off new and gently used children’s books (for example, on the front porch of your home). 

“There’s a very powerful sort of moment between parent and child when they’re bringing [the books] to us,” Ginger says. “That’s really a joy to see. They’ve done something to help another child build a home library of books that they can own and read again and again and keep forever.”

For more information, download the Book Harvest Book Drive toolkit by clicking here.

Hike, Clean Up and Explore the Eno River Together 

People have taken to outside activities in large numbers throughout the year. “Our local parks and trails along the Eno have seen an average 42% increase in use since the start of the pandemic,” says Emily Hill, director of development with the Eno River Association

More use means that more maintenance is needed to preserve the trails. Take the family and enjoy a Small Group Day of Service, spending a few hours along the Eno River completing a project. This may involve removing invasive plant species, cleaning up litter, planting trees, dealing in rock work, trail construction or other maintenance. 

Eno River Association volunteer
Cleaning up local parks and rivers is a family affair with the Eno River Association’s stewardship programs.

Or, opt for a DIY Stewardship Kit – you pick your time, your place, your needed supplies, then go your own way! You’ll mostly focus on litter pickup and removal for this project. Trash bags, pickers and safety vests are all available from the Eno River Association office. 

“It’s really inspiring to see the idea of giving back starting so young,” Emily says. She says kids “really enjoy the challenge” of finding and picking up litter. “It’s like a treasure hunt for trash!”

Dave Cook, an education coordinator with the Eno River Association, says participating in stewardship this way helps children understand how they’re caring for the environment. “They have a stake in it now.”

For more information, contact education@enoriver.org or call 919-620-9099, ext. 1204.

Help Kids Connect With Older Adults 

Connect older citizens with younger ones! Let your teen learn, interview and record an older adult’s story via The Triangle Nonprofit & Volunteer Leadership Center’s Oral History Project. Geared toward high schoolers, students will talk to senior adults in the community and ask them about their life stories. 

“[The project] allows the student to form a connection with the older adult,” says Kim Shaw, executive director of The Triangle Nonprofit & Volunteer Leadership Center. Students will interview them, either through Zoom or on the phone, and discuss the highlights of their life. “Then, [The Triangle Nonprofit & Volunteer Leadership Center] will create a little booklet that the senior adult can have,” Kim says.

For more information about the Oral History Project, contact Debalina Chatterjee at debalina@thevolunteercenter.org, youth@thevolunteercenter.org or info@thevolunteercenter.org and visit handsontriangle.org and thevolunteercenter.org.  

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