Sunday, March 27, 2016

Community Service Projects, Pre-K Through College

How do you teach kids to be less self-involved and more involved in the community?

How do you choose a project that's age-appropriate?

How do you make volunteering a positive experience?

For answers to these and most other questions about volunteering with youth, here's a list of resources to help kids help their communities.

PBS Kids has a couple of useful guides on service projects:

Pennies of Time: Teaching Kids to Serve is a site devoted to family volunteering projects and acts of kindness:


The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation is dedicated to "inspiring a culture of kindness in schools, homes and communities."

Vanderbilt University has a series of posts on community-engaged teaching for college professors: 


Volunteer Now has a brochure of Best Practice Guidelines for nonprofit organizations “to ensure you are recruiting, retaining and adequately supporting all young volunteers.” I think this is worthwhile reading for parents and teachers, as well, since it can help you ask the right questions when choosing and setting up a volunteer project.

Finally, here are (in my humble opinion) the most useful lists of projects for youthful volunteers:

Kid World Citizen suggests 35 Service Projects for Kids, including:
  • Donate kids’ craft kits to a local children’s hospital.
  • Organize a board game night at your local nursing home. 
  • Put on gloves and pick up litter at your local park.  (I definitely agree with the gloves--my husband and I got sick from picking up trash without gloves on, even though we didn't touch anything that looked at all unsavory.)

Laura Grace Weldon lists 40 Ways Kids Can Volunteer, Toddler to Teen, including:
  • Get your dance class, choir, or martial arts school to give a demonstration at a daycare, nursing home, or community center.
  • Walk dogs, collect mail, shovel snow, or rake leaves for someone in your neighborhood who needs the help.
  • Greet new people on your street with a small gift such as a houseplant or plate of cookies.

Teaching to Give has a list of projects appropriate for preschoolers, including: 
  • Bake cookies and deliver them to the local fire station.
  • Hold a stuffed animal drive and donate to the toys to homeless children.

Teen Life has 50 Community Service Ideas for Teen Volunteers, including:
  • Teach computer skills to the elderly.
  • Coach a sport you love to a youth team.
  • Offer to nanny or baby-sit for free to a family in need.

No comments:

Post a Comment