As parents, one of our main responsibilities is instilling in our children a sense of what it means to be a good person. While it’s easy to become consumed by today’s ‘give-me’ mentality, encouraging your children to lend their time and service to the community is an essential teaching moment for parents – and a great opportunity to lead by example!
Start as a family! Luckily there are a number of volunteer opportunities in the Cayman Islands that are perfect for families with kids of all ages. Decide together what type of activity you wish to participate in and how much time you can commit. Perhaps you’d prefer a variety of activities on a rolling basis, or you’d rather dedicate your time to a single charity. Try to match the activity to your family’s interests so it doesn’t feel like a chore. When you have settled on a service, talk to your children about what to expect and be enthusiastic about your newfound responsibility!
The Feed Cayman Programme
What they do: Feed Cayman, ran under Cayman ARK, has been invaluable to hundreds of families for over 10 years. Through this programme, ARK can commit to food support for the many families awaiting assessment by the Government Needs Authority Unit. They provide food and supplies via gift certificates (Foster’s, Cost-U-Less, Hurley’s and Kirk Market) which was essential during the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic. The advantage of gift certificates is that the families can use them to purchase fresh produce, healthy options and the supplies they need.
How to help: They welcome gift certificates or donations for
purchase. For more information WhatsApp Tara Nielsen on
(345) 323 0719 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Become an Animal Ambassador with CARE
What they do: Cayman Animal Rescue Enthusiasts (CARE) is a self-funded volunteer organisation who are always looking for volunteers.
How to help: CARE needs help transporting animals to the surgery to be spayed or neutered. There is a CARE van (which allows animals to be crated) that adults can drive accompanied by their kids. Families can also help build animal feeding stations or assist with their education programme within the local schools. Visit www.caymancare.ky/get-involved/volunteer.
Who can help: Children of all ages can help if accompanied by an adult.
Dog Walking with the Humane Society
What they do: The Humane Society dogs love to be taken out for walks, whether it’s a short 10-minute jaunt or a trip to Seven Mile Beach to splash in the sea.
How to help: Simply turn up any day of the week (mornings are best) and you will be paired with a pooch suitable for your family’s ages and experience.
Who can help: Anyone and everyone! Children ages 18 and under must be accompanied by an adult – whether it be a parent or guardian.
Volunteering doesn’t need to be an organised activity. Church groups and organisations like the Girl Guides, Scouts and the YMCA provide great community engagement opportunities for children. Families can also partake in an hour of social, charitable and environmental activities on a basis that suits their schedule. Read on for some family-friendly ideas.
Deliver Meals on Wheels (MOW)
What they do: MOW provides free, hot, nutritious meals to seniors, the homebound and the disabled throughout Grand Cayman. This service supplies them with the assistance needed to retain their independence in their own homes for as long as possible.
How to help: Sign up as an MOW volunteer and take your children with you when delivering meals.
Who can help: As long as there is an adult present, age is not a disqualifying factor.
Visit Sick Children with IMPACT 345
What they do: This charity recruits local teenagers to visit young patients undergoing charity-funded cardiac procedures at Health City Cayman Islands.
How to help: Teenagers can sign up to visit sick patients. In addition, IMPACT 345 is always looking for donations of clothing, shoes, school supplies, toiletries and toys for the patients, plus clothing, shoes and toiletries for parents accompanying them.
Who can help: Young adults aged 13 and up can register to volunteer. Email: email@example.com for information.
Pick Up Litter
How to help: Spend an hour a week cleaning up your local environment and help keep our stunning Islands beautiful. Plastic Free Cayman hosts monthly beach clean ups. Visit www.plasticfreecayman.com/volunteer/ for details. Choose a different park or beach each time and spend an hour picking up litter. Make a game out of it and see who can pick up the most.
Who can help: Children aged five and up. Be sure to wear gloves and close-toed shoes and supervise children closely.
Create ‘Thinking of You’ Cards for the Sick
How to help: Making cards for the elderly and sick is an easy yet meaningful way to lift a patient’s spirits and make a difference to their day. Residents of The Pines retirement community and patients of The Cayman Islands Cancer Society love to receive artwork and cards made by kids.
Who can help: Children of all artistic abilities and ages can make cards for residents and patients. Why not make it a craft activity the next time your child has a play date!
Host a Bake Sale for Charity
How to help: Let children sell homemade cakes and donate the proceeds to a charity of their choice. Not only do the kids feel the satisfaction of helping a cause, but they also get to flex their baking and maths skills. Set up a stand outside your home at the weekend and ask your friends and neighbours to pop by for a delicious treat!
Who can help: Children aged six and up can work on the stand, although adult supervision is advised.
Make a Food Donation Basket
How to help: Each time you shop at the supermarket, ask your child to pick a non-perishable item which can be donated to those in need. Once you have a number of items, donate it all to a local charity. With your child, take your donation box to charities such as Feed our Future or the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre.
Who can help: Kids aged four and up will begin to understand how their actions can make a difference to others.
How to help: Christmas is a great time to introduce a family tradition of giving back and helping those who are less fortunate. Consider participating in the Camana Bay Christmas Give activities or by purchasing gift certificates at Foster’s, Cost-U-Less, or any grocery outlet and donating them to ARK’s ‘Feed Cayman’ initiative.
Who can help: Encourage the whole family to participate and spread goodwill to those in need.
For more details on the organisations listed here, browse our directory.
Case Study: On June 3rd 2020 three 12 year old boys from Cayman Prep School (Jake Fagan, Ben Coak and Zach Brooks) kitesurfed the length of Cayman to raise funds for ARK’s soup kitchen. Their ‘Kite for Covid’ fundraiser raised an incredible US$55,000 for the charity and the money has gone a long way to feeding families in need in 2020.
For more suggestions of things to do in Cayman – click here.
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