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Volunteering Opportunities for Families & Children

Volunteering is often one of the ways for kids to help those less fortunate and hopefully, in turn, realize how fortunate they are. The ways to help your community are endless.

Most of the opportunities below have hands-on opportunities for individuals and families to volunteers. Some, more appropriate for adults, still offer great opportunities for children to support through a monetary fundraiser or food/item drive.

Volunteer to Cheer with Special Olympics
Your applause and encouragement are so very important to the athletes competing in Special Olympics. Make them feel even more joyous as you clap, cheer, chant, and even hold up signs encouraging them to do their best! Special Olympics hosts many Get Loud events throughout the year you can attend as fan family, group, or individual. Want to take it up a notch? Consider becoming a coach or other support volunteer. Learn more.

Volunteer Fairfax
Volunteer Fairfax offers meaningful volunteer opportunities to a broad range of non-profits. One of the greatest things about this organization’s website is you can see current volunteer needs or do an advanced search of their database for future opportunities. You can even fine-tune your search by choosing the “family-friendly” option to make sure the choices are ideal for kids. There are many possibilities to choose from, which could include an arts and crafts volunteer, animal shelter support, or leaf raking to name a few.

Cornerstones is a non-profit organization that promotes self-sufficiency by providing support and advocacy for those in need of food, shelter, affordable housing, quality childcare, and other human services. Their volunteer opportunities include but are not limited to, providing meals, collecting supplies, or providing basic on-site childcare. Cornerstone serves the Reston area, but volunteering is open to the public, no matter where you live. This Homeless Shelter Directory can show similar programs in other Northern Virginia cities and towns.

The Closet
Founded in 1974, The Closet is a non-profit thrift shop in the heart of historic downtown Herndon, VA. They are a source of low-cost clothing and household necessities for families and individuals on a tight budget. They also give away clothing at no cost to truly needy individuals and use their profits to support worthwhile community programs. Except for about a dozen paid employees, most of their help comes from volunteers. To volunteer, call The Closet and talk to the Store Manager or just stop by at 845 Station St., Herndon, VA.

LiftMeUp! is a therapeutic horseback riding program that is dedicated to providing safe and effective instruction to children and adults with a variety of disabilities. They teach riding skills adapted to the individual’s cognitive and physical needs. Volunteers are truly the “manpower” behind their program and make it possible for LiftMeUp! to offer lessons seven days a week, rain or shine! There are a variety of volunteer opportunities available, for children 14-years old and up, that includes leading a horse in a riding lesson, assisting a rider as a side walker, or even administrative support. Learn more.

Meals On Wheels
Meals on Wheels operates in virtually every community in America through their network of more than 5,000 independently-run local programs. While the diversity of each program’s services and operations vary based on the needs and resources of their communities, they are all committed to supporting their senior neighbors to live healthier and more nourished lives in their own homes. Volunteers who join their online community where once screened and vetted can connect with multiple service organizations to volunteer. Learn more.

Food Pantries & Food Banks
Are you an addictive couponer? Do you stock up at every BOGO sale and then wonder what to do with six boxes of taco shells? Donating to a food pantry/bank could be perfect for you! Your family can clean out your cupboards or run a larger donation drive to help keep your neighbors from going hungry. And if you have a home garden with a bumper crop, many would love to have fresh produce as well. Search for local food pantries/banks here, by city and state.’s local favorites that help support the community you live in include Loudoun Interfaith Relief, the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, the Maryland Food Bank, and the Capital Area Food Bank.

Ronald McDonald House
Hospitals aren’t the coziest of places. For families who have to seek treatment for their children far from home, they can be downright exhausting. Ronald McDonald Houses have been providing those families with comfortable places to stay since 1974. Their network of local chapters can now be found in more than 60 countries and regions across the globe. Ronald McDonald House volunteers make the difference in the lives of all the families that come through our doors – cooking, hosting, listening, nurturing, or by simply being there and helping out in any way they can. Volunteers, be it weekly, in a group, or as a special guest, are needed at the Northern Virginia Ronald McDonald House and Washington, DC Ronald McDonald House.

Habitat For Humanity
Habitat for Humanity’s vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Their mission is to bring people together to build homes, communities, and hope. Local Habitat for Humanity chapters are always in need of volunteers, building materials, and construction help. Local chapters include Loudoun CountyPrince William County, and Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia. Click on your desired chapter, or search more locations here, to find a volunteer opportunity for your family.

Habitat for Humanity also operates ReStore. Restores are non-profit home improvement stores and donation centers that sell new and gently used furniture, home accessories, building materials, and appliances to the public at a fraction of the retail price. Habitat for Humanity ReStores are proudly owned and operated by local Habitat for Humanity affiliates, and proceeds are used to build homes, community, and hope locally and around the world. Volunteers, shoppers, and donations are also needed at these locations. Learn more.

Shelter House
Shelter House is a community-based, non-profit organization serving homeless families in Fairfax County, VA. They provide crisis intervention, safe housing, and support services to promote self-sufficiency for homeless families and victims of domestic violence. They are always in need of volunteers to help support their mission that could include adopt-an-apartment, repair/remodel units, throw holiday parties, plan a food or item drive, read to children, or teach a life skills class. Contact them to learn more.

Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter
Since opening the shelter doors in 1985, Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter (LAWS) has expanded to provide a full array of comprehensive services to adult and child victims of domestic and sexual violence. The mission of LAWS is to serve adults and children who are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, to empower, inform and advocate for adults and children, to educate the community about domestic violence and sexual assault, and to work towards the elimination of personal and societal violence. They have a variety of programs that allow for many ways for volunteers to contribute their time and talent. Opportunities could include child care, administrative tasks, sorting and pricing donations at the resourceful woman thrift store, and much more. Click here to learn more.

Charity Lemonade-Stand Opportunities for Kids
When life gives you lemons…make lemonade! Summertime is the perfect opportunity to open up lemonade stands on those warm summer days. Whether it’s on the corner of your street or outside the neighborhood pool, how could anyone resist an adorable face offering a refreshing beverage? Don’t think it could get any cuter? How about a kiddo selling lemonade for charity? Talk about a serious tug on the heartstrings — take my wallet, kid. See our recent post about local charities that would benefit from a lemonade stand.

Keep The Good Going
Your family can turn some of that tablet game time into real relief. The following are online games or websites that have non-profits in mind.

Extra Life
When you sign up to play games for 24-hours this year, you’ll be supporting local kids and their families in your own backyard. All the money you raise for Extra Life 2015 will go directly to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital of your choice.


FreeRice is a non-profit website that is owned by and supports the United Nations World Food Program. Answer online quizzes to earn rice.

GamesThatGive combines gaming with charitable giving to create the leading platform for engaging brands’ customers in charitable activities.

Did we miss your favorite place? Let us know! Email us at [email protected]

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