A new and growing nonprofit organization in Northern Virginia empowers young children and their families to give back to the community.
Throughout the year, including a flagship Summer Volunteer Camp, Kids Give Back engages kids, ages 6-12, in volunteer work, such as preparing meals for the food insecure, making Valentines for senior citizens, filling baby baskets for low-resources parents, making care packages for hospitalized children, and many other projects that help our community.
Kids Give Back was founded by Denise Gavilan, who launched the program in 2019 with the summer camp and has grown it since then.
“Kids Give Back programs fill a gap, as there are limited opportunities for children, ages 6-12, to participate in meaningful volunteer work,” she said. “Volunteering teaches them to become active, contributing members of our society and makes them feel proud of what they do.”
In 2022, the organization:
- Invested $15,000 in volunteer service projects
- Engaged 400 volunteers
- Hosted 10 events, including some that invited children and families to volunteer together
- Provided 2,500 in-kind donations to 30 nonprofits in the area
- Prepared 300 meals and 600 snack packs for individuals facing food insecurity
This year, Kids Give Back won the 2022 Governor’s Volunteerism Community Service Award as Outstanding Community Organization. The award was presented by Governor Glenn Youngkin at the Executive Mansion in Richmond. They were also profiled by ABC-7’s Helping Hands, Channel 9 News and in various local media.
“The impact of Kids Give Back is seen not only through the number of hours committed or donations made, but also through the improved confidence and wellbeing of the students involved. Students are able to develop leadership skills, practice fine motor and basic academic skills, and cultivate a passion for helping others at the same time,” according to an article written and posted by the Virginia Service Commission. “Gavilan shares that some youth participants report never being asked to help before, and that students feel so proud of their accomplishments when they are able to share the impact of their contribution.”
Gavilan said projects are chosen based on their relatability to children, such as food, animal rescue, health, and education.
“Once the kids connect the activity that they are working on to the cause they are helping, you see the lightbulbs go off in their heads,” she continued. “Our mission is to inspire the next generation of volunteer leaders, and we do this by making volunteering interesting, fun, and impactful.”
Kids Give Back offers many events and opportunities to get involved, including two programs when Fairfax County Public Schools are closed for teacher workdays:
- Winter Volunteer Camp, January 26-27, 2023, 9am-3pm, in Fairfax
- Kids Volunteer Day, March 3, 9am-3pm, in Oakton and Annandale
- Summer Volunteer Camp, June 19-23; July 17-21; and July 31-August 4, 2023, in Fairfax
If you are interested in bringing a program to your community, becoming a sponsor, or getting involved as a volunteer, please contact Denise Gavilan at email@example.com.
Pictured at top: Filling Birthday bags for donation to a shelter