18 Places to Volunteer with Kids in Austin | Volunteering and giving back to the community is something I want to model for my children, starting at a young age. Volunteering together is the best way to make it part of our family culture, and it’s also a great bonding experience. I hope my kids grow up to value community service and understand that we all have a responsibility as humans to support each other.
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It can be challenging to find family-friendly volunteering opportunities, especially when you have younger kids, but we have found some great organizations that make it easy for kids to participate.
Here are some of the best organizations in Austin that provide opportunities for kids and families to give back.
This organization, founded by three moms, has partnered with nearly 100 nonprofits since its founding in 2017. Subscribe to their newsletter to find out about their family-friendly volunteer opportunities that even the youngest kids can participate in, such as bundling diapers for the Austin Diaper Bank, sorting books for BookSpring, decorating totes for children in foster care, or shopping for items for various donation drives.
Generation SERVE was created to engage children in volunteerism so that they grow up to have a passion for service. Every month they offer a calendar of opportunities you can sign up for, such as cleaning up a local park, delivering meals, decorating cards for hospitalized children, and making toys for shelter animals. Many activities are great for all ages, even those under age 6.
The Pease Corps supports the work of the Pease Park Conservancy to restore and maintain this beautiful Austin park. Families can help with planting, creek clean-ups, and other maintenance projects.
This foundation helps to develop and enhance our city’s 300+ parks, and ensure that everyone can access them. They host regular volunteer events where families can help beautify, maintain, and protect our parks.
To support its mission of ensuring that our 10-mile hike-and-bike trail remains one of Austin’s most well-loved places, the Trail Foundation offers frequent public volunteering days where people help with mulching, seeding, weeding, plant removal, and other ecological activities.
Mobile Loaves & Fishes serves people experiencing homelessness through three core programs, one of which is the Community First! Village, which provides affordable housing and support for people coming out of homelessness. Children as young as 5 can volunteer with an adult at the on-site farm, helping to tend gardens, manage the chicken coops, care for the goats, or work in the greenhouse. They can also volunteer at Farm Animal Friday, helping to feed, water, clean up, and groom all the animals. Children as young as 12 can sign up to help harvest and prepare vegetables for distribution.
Saint Louise House supports women and their children experiencing homelessness, providing stable housing and services that empowers them to become independent. Some of their family-friendly volunteer opportunities are providing a meal and a cake for moms and children on their birthdays, preparing or purchasing a meal for the entire community, and helping to serve and clean up the meal.
Caritas of Austin seeks to end homeless in our city by providing safe housing, healthy food, employment, and educational opportunities. They have many at-home volunteer opportunities great for families, such as compiling hygiene care kits, COVID-19 care kits, and snack care kits. Kids ages 12 and up can also prepare and serve lunch in the community kitchen to people experiencing homelessness.
This local nonprofit, founded in 1990, owns 22 communities in Austin and North Texas that provide affordable housing and services to families, veterans, seniors, and people with disabilities. Two great family-friendly opportunities are creating Welcome Home baskets for new residents, and writing Care Cards with kind and inspiring words for residents at the communities.
The largest hunger relief organization in the region, they brought nearly 54 million meals to the community last year. Children as young as 8 can help out in the warehouse, where volunteers inspect, sort, clean, box and prepare food to be distributed.
Children under 18 can accompany an adult on deliveries for Meals on Wheels, which distributes thousands of meals daily to homebound older adults and people with disabilities.
Keep Austin Feds seeks to reduce food insecurity by redistributing excess food to organizations that feed people in need. Kids are encouraged to accompany adults on food runs, which are available every day of the week. A food run takes about an hour and redistributes enough food to provide 160 meals and keeps over 190 pounds of food out of the landfill.
The mission of this organization is to provide a personalized birthday experience to children in foster care. You can become a birthday buddy and shop for a specific child to make their birthday wishes come true. Volunteers can also help prepare birthday boxes, wrap gifts, or help out in the office.
This organization, which prioritizes child development and healthy families, is seeking volunteers to make popsicle stick puzzles for young children in their programs, as well as hand puppets for families to play with. You can also donate books for their clients and place notes of encouragement in the pages.
BookSpring works to build literacy skills and encourage a love of reading in kids and young adults. Individuals and groups can come into the BookSpring warehouse to sort and label books that will be donated. They are also in need of read-aloud videos from people of all ages; you can submit a screen recording of yourself reading a book for their YouTube channel.
The SAFE Alliance serves survivors of abuse, and many people come to the shelter with very little. Families can shop for items from their list of needs and deliver them to their warehouse.
If your family is interested in volunteering with animals, there are wonderful shelters in Austin where older kids can pitch in to help our furry friends. Austin Pets Alive! requires that volunteers be at least 12, and the Austin Animal Center requires they be at least 13. Volunteer opportunities include dog walking, dog and cat enrichment, essential shelter help, greeting visitors, and much more.