Giving back to the community in charitable ways or by volunteering is a terrific family activity. Not only does it teach your kids compassion, but can be fun, meaningful, and educational. Even just exposing young children on ways to give back to their community makes an impact. Our latest endeavor was donating books to Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
I sent a message to my friend Kelli Nowinsky (twitter: @knowinsky) who does the hospital’s social media, asking if there was a way a mom with two small children could volunteer. She forwarded me this link – www.nationwidechildrens.org/volunteering – and similar to most places, they ask that child volunteers be in their teens (makes sense, a volunteer shouldn’t have to be helped in the bathroom. haha!). I knew that would be the case, so I started looking for ways we could donate. Children’s Hospital takes blankets, new toys, beanie babies that have been washed, and books in good condition, among other things.
I called the volunteer line and asked about how I go about making a donation. Then we did! Here’s the breakdown:
Choose what you’d like to donate or how you’d like to volunteer. Link: http://www.nationwidechildrens.org/volunteering. I chose donating books because we LOVE books and we had books that were getting too young for my kids. I had my four year old girl go through her shelf and choose five books that she wanted to donate. I went through my boy’s books with him because he is three…’nuff said.
This was not easy at first. My girl didn’t want to give up her precious books and was putting on the brakes. Hubby and I explained that many of the children in the hospital were too sick to get out of bed, and that they didn’t get to go to the library. I asked her if she liked reading books when we visited the pediatrician, knowing she does, and explained that those books were donated by kids like her. Our message got through, and she even picked out a couple of new books from Target to add to the pile (check out the $1 bins – great board books!).
We wiped down our books. If you plan to donate books, they really appreciate it if you wipe them down with anti-bacterial wipes before dropping them off. Great lesson on cleanliness and how to clean something.
We headed to the hospital. I was a little nervous about the drop off, but it was so easy and my kids loved this part. Please note: sick children are in the lobby with masks on and some are sitting in wheel chairs or wagons – be ready to explain it to your kids.
All you do is pull into the hospital off 18th and tell the valet you have a donation. Double park right in front and check in at the information desk where a form needs to be filled out (I filled it out in my kids’ names), and then someone from the volunteer office comes down. I asked the girl that came down to explain where the books were going. She was so sweet and told us that the books will go onto a cart and the children get to pick what they want to read. She also mentioned that some of the children are too sick to get out of bed, and a book to read or look through makes them really happy.
The hardest part was getting my girl to leave the hospital. She wanted to see the kids and push the cart into their rooms.
Consider volunteering or making a donation. Reading to the children being treated there or coloring with them would make their day! I am sure there are tons of other volunteer opportunities too. Just give Nationwide Children’s Hospital a ring.
Nationwide Children’s Hospital
700 Children’s Drive
Columbus, Ohio 43205
Volunteer line: 614-722-3635