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6 min read

9 Ways to Be Kind to Yourself and Others for Back to School + Beyond!

August 31, 2021

Teacher with students

Some students across the U.S. have started school, while others have yet to start school. And this may be the first time they are doing in-person learning. Back to school brings up so many emotions of excitement and new experiences, and now with the pandemic, some children and parents may be feeling additional anxieties beyond the back to school year jitters of the past. Whether you are a student, parent, grandparent, neighbor, co-worker, or friend and wherever you are during this transition, sending some kindness to others will help you uplift your community and yourself in the process. Here are 9 things you can do to be kind to yourself and others during this time. 

1. Help Students Be Ready Set to Learn and Realize Their Potential

VolunteerMatch has joined forces with the CAA Foundation, MENTOR and AmeriCorps — along with a host of amazing partners all focused on increasing volunteer engagement in the areas of mentoring and tutoring — to help students who have suffered learning and relational losses exacerbated by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

With over 35,000 volunteer tutors needed today to help young people prepare for the rigors of returning to school, there’s never been a better time to volunteer your skills. Over 2,300 people across the U.S. have raised their hands to volunteer, almost half of which are interested in tutoring, but more are needed. 

Visit volunteermatch.org or getreadyset.org to join the movement and explore ways to get involved. 

2. Pledge to #BeKind21

As we look for ways to uplift our spirits going into the school year in the classroom and in our communities, doing something kind for someone makes us feel good and brings joy to others. In fact, research from Born This Way Foundation of young people ages 13 to 24 in the U.S. found that most young people say experiencing more kindness would improve their mental wellness—be it from others (73%), themselves (74%), or observed in the world around them (71%). That’s why we’re excited about partnering with Born This Way Foundation’s #BeKind21 campaign. Be a part of building kinder, more connected communities by practicing an act of kindness each day from September 1st to September 21st. You can also invite your friends, coworkers, classmates, or neighbors to join you. Take the pledge now!

3. Build Confidence Through Sports

The pandemic has caused an additional strain on all of us, and we’re also seeing its toll on kids.  A recent article in Newsweek includes tips based on research on how to help kids get through this and overcome the trauma that they are facing. One way to help kids heal is through activities that provide them with an opportunity to succeed. This can be done through team sports. Get involved with Up2Us Sports to use sports and coaching to inspire youth in under-resourced urban communities to achieve their potential and develop life skills that lead to success on and off the playing field.

4. Reduce Stress with a Furry Friend

With so many new transitions, students, parents, and teachers may be feeling additional pressure. One way to reduce this stress is through a furry friend. Simply petting an animal has been shown to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. And another recent study showed that pet owners even had fewer doctor visits! Not everyone is in a position to adopt a furry companion for life, fostering a dog, cat or other pet in need can be a great way to help you cope and enjoy these health benefits while being of support to animals in need without the long-term commitment. If you’re not ready to become a foster parent to a furbaby, there are a variety of options of animal-related virtual volunteer opportunities

5. Add Purpose to Your Life by Supporting Students in Your Community

Whether you are retired, looking for work, have extra time, or just are ready to give back, volunteering can add more purpose to your life at any age. One study of older adults in particular showed that volunteering provided a sense of purpose for those who had experienced the loss of major role identities, such as wage-earner and parent. So make giving back a part of your life and start something good today. With so many ways to help children learn, everyone has the opportunity to teach a child. Here are ways you can be of service to children today.

6. Become a Mentor

You can make a difference in a child’s life by becoming a mentor. Youth with a mentor are 130% more likely to hold leadership positions in school and extracurriculars. During these uncertain times, having a stable relationship beyond kids’ parents will provide the additional support that they need. Become a mentor now.

7. Get Your Kids Involved: Peer to Peer Tutoring

It’s rewarding and fun to help others, while also contributing to higher self-esteem. Children 13 and older can help other peers by being a virtual tutor on Schoolhouse.world in the subjects of Pre-algebra, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Pre-calculus, Calculus, Statistics, and SAT prep.

8. Create a Back to School Playlist

Music has the power to uplift us and can even change our moods. Give yourself and your kids the gift of music by creating a playlist with each of your favorite songs. Sing and dance on your drive to school and start the day on high note!

9. Uplift Families in Your Community

We all have knowledge and ability to help a child learn and grow. So many American students have suffered learning and relational losses as a result of the Covid 19 Pandemic. This is especially true for lower income communities and communities of color. There are so many ways to volunteer. Here are a few organizations that you can get involved with today to help fill this gap:

Erin Halley

Written by Erin Halley

Erin Halley is the VP of Marketing & Advocacy for VolunteerMatch. She is passionate about making a positive impact and contributing to a better world. She has extensive experience in marketing from digital to events to tradeshows. Her background includes marketing for an international consumer electronics company, a leading national health advocacy nonprofit, a well-known healthcare institution and an arts non-profit. In her free time, she enjoys riding her bike and doing yoga.

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