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healthykids
CONNECTING KIDS TO
commuNiTy
by Helen coronato
T
his September, before scheduling 1-800-volunteer – 1-800-Volunteer.org
after-school soccer practice or Search the nation’s largest database of
cheerleading, why not consider commit- volunteer opportunities, events and or-
ting to a different kind of extracurricular activity: ganizations by location or interest. More
community outreach. Every community has spe- than 117,000 volunteers are registered
cific needs, and stepping in to help fill those with the service nationwide.
needs as a family brings extended benefits.
From strengthening family bonds and Special olympics – SpecialOlym-
making memories to being a role pics.org
model for friends and neighbors, Help people with intellectual dis-
connecting kids with their own abilities. More than 30 recognized
community proves a win- athletes and 750,000 volun-
ning combination. teers participate in the 227
By giving back Special Olympics programs
to community, local worldwide.
organizations get
the assistance they habitat for human-
need, while ity – Habitat-
children ben- ForHumanity.
efit personally org
and scholasti- Habitat has
cally from a family built more than
team-building experience. 300,000 houses
Research from the Harvard around the
Family Research Project world, pro-
shows a direct link between viding safe
such parental involvement housing for 1.5
and a student’s success in school. million people.
Community outreach can be a Builders must be older than
formal affair, thanks to the efforts and or- 16. Other youngsters can contrib-
ganization of national programs, or it can be ute by making “Welcome Home” cards or
a hometown, do-it-yourself project, based on experience toolboxes for the new homeowners.
and ingenuity. Whichever route we choose, our efforts and
energy are a precious and appreciated resource. red cross – RedCross.org
Each year, the Red Cross responds to more than 70,000
Established Organizations
disasters, including as many as 150 home fires, every day.
Coming up with ideas for how to enhance our local com-
munity can be daunting for some. Fortunately, many local
Project Smile – ProjectSmile.org
and national organizations have programs in place that we
This nonprofit organization collects like-new stuffed
can readily join. These are a great place to start:
animals for firefighters and police to distribute to children

experiencing a traumatic time in their lives.
24 Phoenix
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