Massachusetts Medical Society: Get Your Kids Involved in the Community

Get Your Kids Involved in the Community

Kids who are involved in community activities have better things to do than fight.

Look for structured programs and activities -- associated with schools, community groups, or religious organizations -- that can provide a safe and positive environment for kids. 

Ideas for kids to get involved in the community

  • Find a local teen or community center.
  • Join a youth group through your church.
  • Learn an instrument.
  • Get involved in a theater program.
  • Join a math team.
  • Get a job.
  • Join a singing group.
  • Volunteer.
  • Help out an older neighbor or relative.
  • Write poetry.
  • Join a sports team.
  • Create art.
  • Participate in a neighborhood clean up.
  • Find a dance studio.
  • Run a recycling or food drive.
  • Find a tutor.
  • Intern at a local company.

How to find opportunities for your kids

Ask your child's school counselor, the city or town hall, the library, or other community organizations for information.

Many communities offer programs to prevent youth violence, such as:

  • Positive youth development programs,  including after-school programs that give a child or teen the opportunity to learn new skills and build relationships with caring adults, by joining mentoring programs that pair teens with a supportive, nonjudgmental role model.

  • School-based programs, including those to: reduce the risk of academic failure, truancy, and dropping out; increase academic motivation; and reduce disciplinary problems and drug and alcohol abuse. 

  • Family strengthening and support services, including programs that provide home visiting for new parents, help parents improve their parenting skills, or offer support groups.

  • Skills training programs in schools and the community. These try to give children and youth the social, emotional, and problem-solving skills they need to deal with difficult social situations.

  • Counseling and intervention services for both the kids involved in violence, and their families. Treatment programs should look at the many influences on the youth, including the family, school, peer, and neighborhood environments.

-- Adapted from the National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center website

More Information

  • Boys and Girls Clubs of America
    Boys and Girls Clubs provide a supervised place for kids to go after school. Enter your zipcode to find a club near you.
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters
    A mentoring program that matches kids with an adult role model for weekly mentoring.
  • YMCA
    The "Y" has health and fitness classes, sports teams and leagues, and teen leadership programs and summer camps. Find the 'Y' near you by typing in your zipcode.
  • Volunteer Match
    Search for volunteer opportunities near your home. The advanced search option allows you to select opportunities that are good for kids and teens.
  • Harvard School of Public Health Youth Violence Prevention Center
    Provides links to national youth violence prevention sites as well as Boston-based organizations
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