Ways to Give Back as a Family This Summer

We know it can be difficult to find organized volunteer work that accommodates the whole family (and keep the little ones interested). We’ve created a list of DIY charitable activities families can work on together during the summer months.   

Foster a Guide Dog or Therapy Animal

Raise a guide or therapy animal in your home this summer. While the opportunity is available year round, the animals are typically young and require lots of love and care, so it might be something to consider during the lazy days of summer.  Foster family duties vary, but generally include socializing the animal and obedience training. The hardest bit of this gig is having to give the pups back at the end of their stay. There are organizations throughout the country looking for foster; a quick google search for “Guide Foster near me” will point you in the right direction.

Train your pet to be a therapy animal

Alternatively, if you have a family pet with the right temperament, you can train them to work as a therapy animal and volunteer to bring them around to places where people could benefit from the animal’s attention. There isn’t a national organization for therapy animal training, but the American Kennel Club publishes a list of recommended organizations so you can find one near you.


Sell Lemonade for charity

Selling lemonade on a hot summer day is a fun rite of passage for kids. Ask the kids to choose a charity they want to help. Then on a hot, sunny day, set up a table with cups and pitchers of homemade lemonade, and a sign explaining how the proceeds are going to charity. Parents can help the junior philanthropists by donating the ingredients or matching their donation for greater impact.

Readathon for charity

This is a great way to keep kids engaged with reading throughout the summer. Challenge them to read as many books as they can during their 8 week break and have family and friends make monetary pledges for each book read. At the end of the summer, tally up the number of books read, collect the pledges and donate to a charity of your choice.

Thank a Volunteer

In many towns the ambulance corps and firefighters are unpaid positions. Let these important community members know how much you appreciate their effort by baking a batch of brownies or cookies and dropping them at the station with a hand drawn thank you card from your family.  

Help a kid go Back to School

Operation Backpack run by Volunteers of America lets you fill a backpack according to a grade level and drop it off before school starts for in need grade schoolers in different parts of the country.  Why not grab their list and buy a second set of school supplies for a kid in need? If there isn’t an Operation Backpack near you, they would be an worthwhile charity for your lemonade stand or readathon.  


Help Local Kids

Older grade schoolers have a lot of skills and passions they can share with younger kids. Give them an opportunity to run a weekly storytime at the local library, or visit a hospital or homeless shelter to play games or do hands on crafts with the kids there.