Mothers are subdivided into so many different groupings: single moms, special needs moms, moms-to-be, adoptive moms, military moms, celebrity moms, empty nest moms, moms of multiples, mocha moms, first-time moms, soccer moms, and on and on. Similarly, women without children fall into different silos, too.
Almost every day, another NotMom shares her story with me, and often, they share unique challenges as an only child. No sisters or brothers means no nieces or nephews, and marriage doesn’t always provide them, either. I’m in that category, and though I was blessed to watch my lovely, smart goddaughter and her brother grow up to be awesome adults, they lived several states away. If you’re looking to build a relationship with a youngster in your day-to-day life, there are several avenues to explore.
Girl Scouts: The first step to becoming a troop leader, co-leader or volunteer is to contact the council near you. Minimal requirement is to be over age 18; motherhood – even being female – shouldn’t be a prerequisite. After completing an application, there may be fees for a background check, membership, and basic training. Even easier, volunteer to share your expertise to help the girls earn a badge in fields as diverse as digital photography to financial literacy.
Camp Fire: Formerly limited to girls, this national organization provides opportunities to uncover each young person’s unique interests. Start local and learn how you can get involved.
Big Brothers Big Sisters: Again, identifying your local agency is the place to start. After completing an online application, you’ll be contacted by a local representative. The real challenge may be that often, waiting lists for children under age 12 can be lengthy. As with adoption, older kids need the help you can provide too, so consider expanding your wish-list to include them.
Volunteer Match: This is one of several websites listing a variety of opportunities across the nation. the diversity of situations and organizations listed include children who are homeless, hospitalized or challenged by mental or physical difficulties. Sometimes, they just need someone to read aloud to them. You can do that, right? Idealist is another good resource for this.
Children’s Museums, Hospitals, Libraries: There’s probably an institution in your community that would love to hear from an eager volunteer wanna-be. Give them a call.
And if organized volunteering isn’t your thing, consider the anonymous route and organize an activity on your own for kids. Contact domestic violence shelters, for example, to learn how to donate gifts for a child’s birthday or holidays. Maybe the school library in a lower-income neighborhood is desperate for new books.
If you want to be involved with a child, don’t give up just because your uterus said no.