Community Service for kids has so many benefits. Children learn how to be helpful, kind patient, respectful all while helping others out. Volunteering at a young age has shown to be beneficial for the child all the way through adulthood. Children who volunteer have been shown to be less likely to engage in self-destructive behaviors. And the service that they will be providing for others has it's own domino positive effect on the community. I'm going to give you a list of community service ideas for kids. Ideally, you will want to pick something that your child gets excited about and fills a need in your community.
Visit A Nursing Home Or Veteran's Hospital
When I was a reading specialist at a reservation school, I took some of my middle school students to a nearby Veterans Hospital. We scheduled to make our trip on Valentines Day. Students each wrote dozens of cards that they personally gave out to the veterans. Many of the cards thanked the residents for their service to this country. I bought little flags that my students could give our along with their cards. It was beautiful to witness how the veterans responded to the childrens' acts of kindness. The benefits to my students were that they were writing, sharing and gaining self-esteem. The kids saw that their writing and sharing put smiles and happy tears on others faces. We were hardly out the door, when some of my most reluctant students, were talking about the experience and asking when we could go back.
If you live in an area that doesn't get snow, then feel free to skip to the next paragraph. However, if you live in an area that gets snow in the winter, think about how you can help those less fortunate to shovel out. Some people to consider helping are the elderly, disabled, single parents, sick or anyone who may benefit from a helping hand. Be brave and just ask. Of course, being a community service, when you ask someone if you could help by shoveling, make sure that you are clear that you don't want to be paid. Just explain that you were hoping they'd say yes, and how it would be a blessing to you if they allowed you to help.
Make Polar Fleece Blankets
I have been the receipt of a polar fleece blanket one time from my Bible Study lady friends. It was shocking and touching to receive a blanket while I was going through a tough time. Knowing I had and loved horses, they choose a horse fleece for one side and a matching color fleece for the other. A polar fleece blanket does not need to be sewed, but rather it is cut and tied. My friends added a note that each tie was tied while saying a prayer for me. I was so overtaken by their kindness that I have since then made polar fleece blankets and given them out to people who were sick, going through a hard time, or just because. If you want to make someone a blanket but aren't sure who to give it to, check out Project Linus. Click here for a video tutorial to learn how to make this very easy style of homemade polar fleece blankets.
Volunteer At A Local Soup Kitchen Or Homeless Shelter
This is one of my favorite activities to do with my daughter. It does not take much time and it benefits so many. If you already have a full schedule, you may want to consider just being on a substitute list. That way, you don't have to commit too far in advance, but you are still available to say yes or no when called. If you don't know if your city or town has a soup kitchen or homeless shelter or where it is located, generally a church in the area can direct you to the nearest one. Plan on at least a couple of hours to prepare the food, serve and wash dishes.
Help At A Dog and Cat Shelter
Contact your local dog and cat shelter to see how you can help. Some may have a dog walking program or simply encourage you to play with the cats and kittens. You could also organize a fundraiser for your local shelter and then donate all of the money to them. If you'd rather not deal with money, organize a fundraiser to collect supplies. Ask your shelter what would be most beneficial and don't be afraid to run ideas by them. My daughter from a young age used to save up her birthday money and then buy rawhide bones for the dogs and cat toys for the cats and kittens. Our shelter let her go around and hand out the bones to dogs in kennels and to the felines in the cat room. It made my heart happy to know we were helping homeless animals, and especially seeing my daughter take on a caregiver role with such joy.
Pick Up Litter
Look no further on how to help than your local park or commonly shared areas. Buy some heavy duty plastic gloves and take along a heavy-duty bag and start picking up trash. This is by no means a glamorous job and you never know what you will find, but it is helpful to the environment, animals, and people. This is not an activity that you would need to organize nor ask anyone permission to do. However, if you want to, you could contact friends and have them come along to help pick up trash. Make sure that your child knows to ask for your assistance before picking up potentially dangerous items like needles or syringes. Hopefully, you won't find those kinds of things but it's best to err on the side of caution and talk to your child before heading out the door.
Organize a Shoe Cutting Party For People In Uganda
Many people in Uganda are affected by a painful parasite that appears on their feed called Jiggers. This parasite prevents adults from working and walking. Jiggers prevent kids from playing, running and going to school. The parasite also has a social stigma attached to it, which alienates people into outcasts. Jiggers can be prevented and treated, and you can help. Visit SoleHope to learn more. You can buy a shoe cutting party kit for $115 that will show you how to turn old jeans into shoe pieces for children and adults in Uganda. If that amount seems like a lot, consider asking party participants to chip in to help pay for the kit. You could buy the kit which includes a tutorial video on Jiggers and how to cut the jeans using patterns, and then have party-goers help to reimburse you.
Organize a Garage Sale For a Cause
What better way is there to clean out your closets than to organize a garage sale for your favorite cause. Not only will you be cleaning your house, but you'll be doing it for the benefit of others. Talk to your child about which toys that they no longer play with and how the money raised from the sale of the toy will help pay for someone's need.
Operation Christmas Child
This is a favorite activity that my daughter and I participate in each year. Visit Samaritan's Purse founded by Franklin Grahams Operation Christmas Child to see how you can pack a shoebox for a child in need this year. Shoe boxes are sent all over the world to be distributed to children in many countries. Boxes travel by plane, train and even donkey to reach children in desolate places. Make sure not to wait until Decemeber since box collections happen in early November so that the boxes will make it in time for Christmas.
Final Thoughts For Community Service Ideas For Kids
I've gone over a small list of community service ideas for kids for you to pick from. But I hope you will allow yourself to be open and creative to fill a need in your community that may not be on this list. Community service projects can involve volunteering at highly organized large events such as a benefit walk/run for breast cancer, or it could be as simple as asking your elderly neighbor how you could help them. Taking out the trash for an older person may not only lighten their load but keep them from falling and breaking a hip. There is always a positive domino effect that happens when you help. One of the greats consequences of helping is to see that your children grow into compassionate and caring citizens.
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