16
   

Would it be wrong to pay a kid for volunteer work?

 
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Apr, 2013 07:28 pm
@Eva,
The thing is -- that doesn't happen around here.

Most of the yards are taken care of by professional crews (of insanely hard working people who need their jobs) and the rest are taken care of by people who enjoy working in their yards.

At 12 I really don't want him to have keys to people's houses to take their dogs out. I just don't think he's old enough for that kind of thing. There are too many things that could go wrong.

I really have spent a lot of time thinking about this -- ways for him to earn some pocket money this summer. I know things will change in a few years but that doesn't help me right now.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Fri 26 Apr, 2013 07:31 pm
@ossobuco,
I think he would really, really like having a "job".

He also enjoys volunteer work.

I wanted to think it all out before I talked to him about it though.

I did look into volunteer work at the dog shelter not far from our house (because I know he would totally love that). Apparently they have so many volunteers that they have several volunteers that just schedule the other volunteers!

And the volunteers have to be 16.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  3  
Reply Fri 26 Apr, 2013 08:50 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
I was thinking about how summer is nearly upon us and wondering how Mo might earn a little pocket money. He's too young for a job but not too young to do volunteer work (if I go along with him). So I started thinking maybe I could pay him for hours he volunteers somewhere.

Ethically it seems a little murky in that it's pretty contrary to the spirit of volunteering and I don't want to send the message that one should be expected to be paid for volunteer work.

Then why not just frame it differently? Instead of him volunteering and you going along with him, you volunteer, and he earns pocket money from you for helping you volunteer. Same thing, differently framed. Some mothers pay their sons for helping them keep the lawn in order, some mothers (well, at least one) pay their sons for helping them volunteer. No problem.
Ceili
 
  2  
Reply Fri 26 Apr, 2013 09:39 pm
I remember being his age and being really proud of volunteering. Have you thought about local marathons - handing out water, or other sports like events he might enjoy volunteering for? My sister-in-law volunteers a couple of times a month a the local food bank with her kids. I used to bring my kids to volunteer at thanksgiving dinners or other big meals for the homeless.
I also remember babysitting. I know he's a boy, but is this option totally out of his realm?
Back then I had a paper route, I realize that option has dried up. I worked at a bingo on friday nights, also not an option anymore... and I mowed lawns/shoveled snow. Dog walking might be an option..
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Apr, 2013 09:50 pm
@Thomas,
That's an interesting twist, Thomas, and I'm going to have to chew on it a bit.

The first thing that pops into my head, though, is that it makes things more about me than about him. What happens the first time that he decides he's too tired to go, or doesn't feel like going, or whatever?

If I do this, and I'm not yet sure that I will, I want him to think of it as HIS job and I worry that this tack will make it feel more like MY job that he tags along to.

Does that make sense?

I'm going to sleep on this idea. It might work but I'm not sure....
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Apr, 2013 10:01 pm
@Ceili,
Mo also enjoys volunteering. I think all kids do. We've done quite a bit of it and he does some through his school (it's emphasis is social justice).

People who grew up here fondly remember the days when the orchards sent buses into the city to pick up kids to work in the fields for pocket money every summer. That opportunity has dried up along with all the other jobs for kids. There really isn't much out there.

Most of our neighbors have nannies, or nearby family so babysitting doesn't really work. The rest of them are older and retired who think of their dogs as their kids and spend gobs of hours walking their dogs.

Mo used to go out and mow the park strip island thing that runs down our street and people would just come out and pay him money for doing it (he just liked to mow -- the money was kind of "wow" benefit) but now they've hired a crew to do it so he doesn't even have that anymore.

It's all kind of frustrating!
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Apr, 2013 10:40 pm
@boomerang,
I had a post all typed out before I read what Thomas said. He said what I was going to say.

boomerang wrote:
The first thing that pops into my head, though, is that it makes things more about me than about him. What happens the first time that he decides he's too tired to go, or doesn't feel like going, or whatever?


Why not draw up an employment contract with him and get him to sign off on it. Include a job description and a standards of performance with items that can be measured.

He'll know what the expectations are and what he won't be able to get away with if he wishes to be paid for the time/quantity. Let him agree to how many absences and incidents of tardiness he's allowed before he gets "fired."

Treat it as an employer/employee situation, not a family relationship.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Apr, 2013 10:50 pm
@boomerang,
you have yet to answer why you should not just hand him money or make a family job to pay him for.....

it was sometimes a long think before I came up with a job, but I always did. do you have photos that need to be put into books? is your family tree all laid out nice? does grandma need some cleaning done?
0 Replies
 
cherrie
 
  4  
Reply Fri 26 Apr, 2013 11:45 pm
@boomerang,
You are seriously considering paying your son to do volunteer work?
Which part of the word 'volunteer' do you not understand?
Volunteers don't get paid. If you want to give him money, have him earn it some other way - or just give it to him - but don't devalue the work that real volunteers do just so you can feel better about it.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Apr, 2013 04:45 am
@cherrie,
I once had a volunteer position turn into a paying job. I didn't feel devalued when I started getting money for the work I was doing.

This argument doesn't make sense to me.
cherrie
 
  2  
Reply Sat 27 Apr, 2013 05:22 am
@maxdancona,
Your volunteer position became a paid position. Once that happened you were no longer a volunteer, you were an employee.
Volunteers don't get paid - employees do.
We have volunteer firefighters and volunteer emergency service workers who have to do and see some pretty horrible things. They do this with absolutely no expectation of being paid for it, they do it because that's how they have chosen to help their community.
If they can do this without being paid, then why should a kid be paid to 'volunteer' at the local animal shelter?
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Sat 27 Apr, 2013 05:36 am
@cherrie,
There are also professional fire fighters. And there are people with paid jobs at animal shelters. I don't see anything wrong with earning money in either case. Getting paid to do work is a very good thing.

If we are arguing over whether the term "volunteer" is appropriate then I concede (although I think arguing over words is silly).

I still don't see what is wrong with Mo working as a paid employee (of his mom) in a position that helps people. It seems like a good thing all around.
cherrie
 
  3  
Reply Sat 27 Apr, 2013 05:56 am
@maxdancona,
I'm not suggesting that there is anything wrong with being paid to do a job.
But we get a job with the expectation of being paid for it, we volunteer knowing we are not going to be paid.
If Mo is going to be paid - even by his mum - then that is not volunteering.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Apr, 2013 06:28 am
@cherrie,
Good Cherrie. Then we all agree. Mo will work with the expectation of being paid. We just will not call him a "volunteer". The term for someone who is being paid is "professional".

So Mo will be a professional animal caretaker (or whatever his position will be). And, everyone wins.

Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Apr, 2013 07:16 am
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
The first thing that pops into my head, though, is that it makes things more about me than about him. What happens the first time that he decides he's too tired to go, or doesn't feel like going, or whatever?

Then he doesn't go. Nobody has to earn pocket money, and nobody has to volunteer. What's the problem?

boomerang wrote:
If I do this, and I'm not yet sure that I will, I want him to think of it as HIS job and I worry that this tack will make it feel more like MY job that he tags along to.

That does make sense. But even so, he is going to see what volunteer jobs are like, whether he gets paid for doing them or not. If he likes what he sees, he may well decide that this is something he'd like to do on his own next summer. And then it is going to be about him.
chai2
 
  4  
Reply Sat 27 Apr, 2013 07:46 am
@maxdancona,
Well then I'm glad we "all" made up our mind the title of this thread is not about volunteering, but getting a paid position.

boom, as far as it being "wrong", to me it just doesn't begin to make sense.

It's been obvious from the start (at least to me) that you've been trying to justify paying mo for work, so why not just call it what it is?

If he enjoys volunteering, and he gets a volunteering opportunity, he doesn't get paid.

I love apples, especially when I can get orange juice out of them.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Apr, 2013 07:55 am
@cherrie,
cherrie wrote:

You are seriously considering paying your son to do volunteer work?
Which part of the word 'volunteer' do you not understand?
Volunteers don't get paid. If you want to give him money, have him earn it some other way - or just give it to him - but don't devalue the work that real volunteers do just so you can feel better about it.


But then we all wouldn't be able to go through all this mental masterbation about whether to give the kid 10 bucks for doing something.
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Sat 27 Apr, 2013 08:09 am
@cherrie,
Actually what I'm seriously considering is exchanging pocket money for hours spent on a worthwhile endeavor.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Apr, 2013 08:12 am
@maxdancona,
Yep. It's just semantics.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Sat 27 Apr, 2013 08:18 am
@Thomas,
Quote:
If he likes what he sees, he may well decide that this is something he'd like to do on his own next summer


Excellent point.

This year is preparation for next year which will be preparation for the next year, and so on.

I could just untie the two -- tell him "I'll make sure you have pocket money as long as your doing some kind of work. Here's a volunteer opportunity, let's check it out."
 

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