Spirit of Service – Volunteer Ideas For Kids

20 Aug

Previously, we highlighted an article describing the benefits of volunteering. But more often than not, we aren’t thinking of personal gain when devoting time to the service of others. Whether helping a neighbor or joining a global campaign to end hunger, living a life of service has the power to transform the world.

“Training in morals and good conduct is far more important than book learning. A child that is cleanly, agreeable, of good character, well-behaved–even though he be ignorant–is preferable to a child that is rude, unwashed, ill-natured, and yet becoming deeply versed in all the sciences and arts. The reason for this is that the child who conducts himself well, even though he be ignorant, is of benefit to others, while an ill-natured, ill-behaved child is corrupted and harmful to others, even though he be learned. If, however, the child be trained to be both learned and good, the result is light upon light.”

What better way to raise children to be a benefit to others while developing their intellectual capacities than through service?  When planning a service project for your family or classroom, there are a few things to consider.

1. Research Your Community

Involve children in actively researching the needs of your community. Talk to hospitals, homeless shelters, and schools to find out what they need. For example, some hospitals only accept new packs of crayola brand crayons for their younger patients; and homeless shelters might use a particular brand of toiletries. By going directly to the source you will have greater impact, and children will feel personally engaged in developing the service project.

2. Service Should Connect The Community

There can be no words to express the benefit of community service, but what if you could increase it’s rewards? Making holiday cards for local senior citizens is a wonderful idea – but expand it by delivering the cards in person and spending a few hours sharing stories. Collecting canned food helps the hungry, but volunteering at a soup kitchen heals the community.

3. Capitalize on Individual Talents

In order to do good for others, the first step can be looking within ourselves. Not neccessarily in some hippy-dippy way, but by acknowledging how our unique talents and interests can benefit others. We don’t have to be rocket scientists – an interest in basketball can give birth to an effort to hold a Saturday Sport Workshop connecting local children with sports instructors. Or even the opportunity to sell concessions at a big game and donate a portion towards buying the school new sports equipment. Get creative!

4. Planning Only Gets You So Far

Translate your ideas into reality!

“Some men and women glory in their exalted thoughts, but if these
thoughts never reach the plane of action they remain useless: the
power of thought is dependent on its manifestation in deeds.” – Abdul-Baha

Service Ideas

1. Heifer.org – This organization raises funds to provide livestock for families in need. With an income, communities are empowered and able to feed it’s people. The organization also provides free education kits containing lesson plans, books, and posters.

2. Meals On Wheels – Spend a morning delivering meals to people in need. Most often senior citizens, Meals On Wheels combats hunger and creates community connections. My family volunteered on Christmas morning and cannot describe how wonderful it was to meet so many amazing people and hear their life stories.

3. Soup Kitchen Spend a few hours at a Soup Kitchen. Younger children may prefer to arrive early and help in food preparation (sandwich making!) Older children might enjoy organizing a fundraiser to collect canned food to personally deliver at the soup kitchen. This is a great way to participate in service directly with the community.

4. Bedtime Snack Sacks. “While most kids enjoy a bedtime snack, children living in homeless shelters seldom have that treat. With your kids, decorate a number of lunch bags with markers, sequins, and glitter. Fill each bag with a juice pack and non-perishable treat such as a granola bar, packaged crackers, or dried fruit. The experience should foster some meaningful conversation with older kids about why the shelter exists and how it’s supported.”

5. Reverse Trick-Or-Treat – Around Halloween, organize a reverse trick-or-treat event. Children can assemble small bags of candy. Then, dressed in halloween costumes, they can deliver them at a local nursing home, hospital, or children’s home. (Research comes in handy here!) Spend time over licorice and chocolate and show children how wonderful it can be to share.

6. Share Your Ideas! Did you put on a play to teach equality? Or paint over graffiti with a decorative mural? Let us know!

3 Responses to “Spirit of Service – Volunteer Ideas For Kids”

  1. Dawn August 24, 2009 at 2:47 pm #

    Great tips! We are going to plan and organize a lemonade stand in the neighborhood with the proceeds going to a local charity the kids will choose. You gave me some good ideas. Keep writing!

    • emilyfinan August 24, 2009 at 3:29 pm #

      That sounds like a great idea Dawn! Kids love lemonade stands, I bet they would feel a great sense of accountability from that service project.

  2. June January 22, 2015 at 3:44 am #

    Reblogged this on Blogs by Bahais.

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