“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
My colleague and I are organizing be a day of service for our 8th grade students the last day of school. We want to end the year taking some time focusing on helping others and make a difference in the community.
Day Of Service Activities At A Glance
Walk-a-thon: Walk and raise money for World Central Kitchen. WCK is first to the frontlines, providing meals in response to humanitarian, climate, and community crises.
Brook & Nature Center Clean-Up: Join others to keep trash our of the brook and Rye Nature Center.
Dog Toys for Animal Shelters: Braid pull toys for animal shelter dogs at Humane Society of Westchester.
Letters of Hope: Create works of art that share messages of hope, show compassion and promote healing for children in the Ukraine.
Numerous studies report the benefit of community service among teens. One study that analyzed data from the National Education Longitudinal Study found that students who are more civically engaged tend to perform better in school subjects such as reading, history, science and mathematics and are more apt to complete high school. Researchers also found that community service enhanced students’ problem-solving skills, improved their ability to work within a team and enabled them to plan more effectively.
Volunteering helps the teens gain new skills necessary for the job market such as leadership, communication skills, dependability, time management, and decision making.
HOW YOU CAN SET UP YOUR OWN DAY OF SERVICE
Consider ways that students can actively be involved in helping others. Students can pick up trash around the school, create a mural to inspire the community, or work with community based organizations. For examples, we wanted to plan activities that were low or no cost.
Students, teachers, and even the parent organization can meet to brainstorm project ideas. The following criteria should be considered in selecting projects:
- Location: Convenience and proximity are important.
- Money/resources/equipment required: Make sure that you have the necessary money, resources, and equipment before confirming a project.
- Visibility in the community: Think about whether you want to work only for “well-known” agencies, those less known, or the neediest.
- Constituency mix: Consider whether you want to concentrate on helping one segment of the community or offer a wide range of project types.
- Number and size of projects: Consider your student population, you might want to organize several smaller projects. Keep in mind that too many volunteers for a project can lead to people standing around with nothing to do, and this will not be a good experience for them. We are going to have students complete a Google Form to sign up for projects of their choice and also cap certain projects.
Want to include remote volunteer opportunities? This article from We Are Teachers with ten virtual volunteer opportunities for teens.
Have more ideas, share in the Comments section on this blog.