How to Help Underprivileged Children

by Gail Sessoms
Seek places that help children, like shelters, to learn how to help.

Seek places that help children, like shelters, to learn how to help.

Aid underprivileged children by helping to provide them with the resources that all children need. Whether labeled as disadvantaged, low-income or at-risk -- these children often lack basic life necessities and access to resources for dealing with youth- and family-related issues such as motor development, nutrition and literacy. Fortunately, you can help them thrive during youth and succeed as adults by looking for opportunities to help through direct service or by assisting with resource development.

Find Youth-Serving Organizations

Organizations that provide services for vulnerable children include those that focus solely on children and those that work with families. Contact your local public school system or Communities in Schools and visit the websites of public libraries and local literacy councils to learn about programs that help children. Child welfare, juvenile justice and social service agencies can provide information about the needs of children in your community. The Boys and Girls Clubs, 4-H Clubs, YMCA, sports programs, recreation centers and scouting organizations often work with disadvantaged children who need help in many areas. Do a nonprofit organization search on the Internet, or contact the United Way in your community for information.

Volunteer Your Time and Talents

Volunteer service can make a difference. Mentors provide guidance and enrichment. Tutors help children meet educational goals, such as preparing for college entrance exams. Serve as a guardian ad litem or court-appointed special advocate for abused and neglected children. Individuals 55 and older can volunteer at schools and day care centers through the Foster Grandparent Program. Use your education and training to help a child explore his talent for music or to help an organization with free grant writing, accounting work or service as a board member. VolunteerMatch.org and similar services can help connect you with a volunteer opportunity.

Raise Funds and Seek Donations

Host a fundraising event for a nonprofit youth-serving organization. The funds raised can increase the number of children served, pay the salary for a program coordinator or fund camp scholarships for children. Work with your church or membership group to collect resources, such as clothing, food, school supplies, sports equipment, computers and Christmas gifts. Contact an organization in advance to ask about the need and arrange to deliver the funds or items collected. Verify with the organization how donors will receive donation receipts for tax deductions, if requested.

Start Your Own Organization

You can start a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization that accepts tax-deductible donations to support your work with underprivileged children. Your charitable purpose might involve education, enrichment or issues related to poverty, such as hunger or housing. Start your own group and join others to help children through community service events. Starting a group gives you the freedom to determine the direction of your efforts, build relationships with community organizations and respond quickly to need.

About the Author

Gail Sessoms, a grant writer and nonprofit consultant, writes about nonprofit, small business and personal finance issues. She volunteers as a court-appointed child advocate, has a background in social services and writes about issues important to families. Sessoms holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal studies.

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