Where to volunteer with kids in Central Florida

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‘Tis the season for so many things, right? We just survived Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. Now it’s back to school for our kids to survive what one meme called the “three weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas that feel like the last lap in Mario Kart where the music is all fast and gets really stressful.” 

Nailed it.

So is there something us moms can do to help our families not just barely make it through and survive this holiday season, but actually make the most of it and enjoy it?

YES!

And it’s actually two things: slow down and serve.

For a firstborn, type A, full time, work-outside-the-home mom like me, I promptly busted out laughing out loud after typing that.

Slow down?! HAAA!! 

Serve?! Haaahahaha! With that time??? 

But then, I realized, if I don’t slow down and find ways to serve, this is not going to be the holiday season I really want.

To be honest, I want to spend more time with my hubby and kids. I want us to slow down long enough to make Christmas cookies and sit down in the living room to look at the tree. And I want us to make sure the holiday season is not just about us and what we want.

The holiday season is more meaningful when we love and serve others.

So in the spirit of serving, helping & loving others, here’s a list of opportunities to volunteer in Central Florida that are family and kid friendly.

Where to volunteer with kids in Central Florida

Melissa is the volunteer coordinator. When I spoke to her, she shared that students 16 & older can volunteer by themselves. Many do it for Bright Futures scholarship hours and they don’t have to be from Seminole County, where they’re located.
Kids under 16 can participate with their family in “Family Fun Night” once a month.
For those of us who have kids ages 16 or older, this is a great opportunity to serve kids who have special needs.
They have a “Buddy Break” program that is run by local churches. Each church has more information about their Buddy Break times and volunteer opportunities.
My 16 year old son Christopher and I got to serve at their “Soaked” water fun event this past summer and we had a BLAST! I got a little wet, but he really got SOAKED!
If your kids are under 16, like my daughter, there are still opportunities to volunteer and serve!
In 2020, my daughter Allyson & her gymnast friends (all tweens around ages 11 and 12) got together to personally deliver Christmas gifts to a family with a child with special needs in the Clermont area. Nathaniel’s Hope calls these “Caroling Caravans” and they were a lot of fun! 
A group of tween girls sharing Christmas toys and gifts for Nathaniel's Hope Caroling Caravan in 2020
My daughter and her gymnast friends got together to bring Christmas toys for a family with special needs through Nathaniels’ Hope Caroling Caravan in 2020.
Kids as young as 5 can volunteer with their family at the Second Harvest Food Bank!
If you have kids ages 5 to 9, you might be able to sign up for a “Family Night” or “Family Day” to serve together.
Your kids who are at least 10 years old, can serve at the Second Harvest Food Bank with a chaperone who is 18 years or older.
And if you have a teen who is 16 years or older, they can volunteer without a chaperone. Cool, huh?
 

There are other Central Florida organizations that you might be able to volunteer with, including:

  • Salvation Army
  • The Orlando Dream Center
  • Advance Community Center in Kissimmee
  • Samaritan’s Purse (Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes)
  • Give Kids the World Village
  • & more!
PLUS! This link has 50 DIY Kid Volunteering Ideas for Families, like gathering canned food for a drive at their school, dropping off toys in a “Toys for Tots” box & more!
If you have volunteer stories & ideas to share, please share them in the comments below. I’d love to hear all about it!
In the meantime, let’s go spread some Christmas cheer & volunteer! (Hey, that rhymes!)
~Coppelia
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Coppelia is a local Orlando radio personality, wife, mom and self-proclaimed "Boricua princess!" Boricua because she was born in Puerto Rico and princess because ... Disney! Her love of all-things-Disney probably started when her grandma "Abuela Mamin" brought 5-year-old Coppelia to Disney World for the first time! She's married to her "Boricua prince charming," Adam, who is also from Puerto Rico. Both of their kids, their son Chris {2006} and daughter Ally {2009} were born in California. So far, Coppelia's family adventures have taken her from Puerto Rico to California, then Texas (where she loved being a part of our sister community, the Houston Moms Blog!) She moved to Orlando in 2019 for an awesome radio gig! You can hear her on Z88.3 in English and La Z 102.5 in Spanish! When she's not on the radio or getting her kids to basketball and gymnastics, Coppelia blogs about family, faith and fun at coppeliamarie.com. She's also the author of a Bible devotional called “Whole: How One Book Can Transform Your Whole Life." While her roles as wife & mom are priority, she loves opportunities to lead worship and sing in churches and speak at Christian women’s conferences. Orlando life is still new to Coppelia, but she loves being a Disney Annual Passholder. She and her sister Emille hit the parks as often as possible! Special Disney memories include her Disney Honeymoon in 2004 and her first RunDisney half marathon at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in 2015! Can't wait to make new memories & share them with YOU! You can follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @Coppeliamarie.

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