Community service is something kids of all ages can enjoy and learn from. From elementary to high school, students and teachers can benefit by creating and implementing community services activities for kids that are rewarding experiences for all involved.
Community outreach gives students the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of concepts taught in class in practical and meaningful ways by combining learning goals and community service in ways that can enhance both student growth and the common good. Community service empower kids with responsibility, engages their compassion, and offers them the chance to affect the lives of others.
Schools are composed of dynamic populations with a variety of needs and interests. Therefore, teachers can and should construct hands-on participatory projects for students in which they can support a local organization.
Community service for kids
Dynamic projects — created by students and teachers– bring awareness to the concerns that are most pressing to student populations and school communities. Projects are focused on raising awareness and practicing advocacy on that issue. And these projects can be inspiring.
Teachers structure their project for students so they have a designated time period to research, design, and implement their project. The goal is to create a hands-on, collaborative project for students to deepen their understanding of community service.
For teachers, it is an opportunity to demonstrate a commitment to students and their learning. It is also an opportunity to take responsibility for managing and monitoring student learning in a way that fosters a desire to be members of their communities.
How to start a community service project
Creating a community service project for kids begins with identifying an organization where your students can apply their learning in a meaningful way to enhance their growth and the common good.
Start by writing a program proposal containing information related to three specific components that will enable students to readily initiate the service project.
The first component will describe the investigation process, identifying potential organizations to work with and how the partnership will be beneficial and support one another’s mission through specified goals and objectives.
The second component will describe the planning process, gathering and evaluating sources and information related to the organization, and determine a proposal for action to conduct the project as well as monitor its progress.
In the third component, criteria will be developed to judge the effectiveness and potential extensions for the project. Lastly, a rubric will be created to evaluate the presentation constructed by students to share their Student Learning Project.
Some easy community services ideas for young kids
- Make Valentine’s cards for Senior Citizens
- Donate kids’ craft kits to a local children’s hospital
- Decorate placemats for homeless food kitchens
- Donate backpacks with school supplies for needy kids
- Start lemonade stands to raise money for a cause
Community services ideas for middle school students
- Volunteer at an animal shelter
- Spend time with seniors. This can be as simple as taking walks or sharing meals
- Plant trees or start a community garden
- Mentor younger kids
- Run or walk for charity
Community services projects for high school students
- Volunteer to help build homes with Habitat for Humanity
- Hold a car wash to raise money for an animal shelter or other deserving program in your community
- Help the homeless by collecting clothes and needed items such as toiletries and blankets. Have students hand them out personally or select a regular hand-out spot, such as a park frequented by the homeless.
- Volunteer to read letters or the newspaper to residents in nursing homes
- Start a garden for your local food bank
Lasting benefits of volunteering
When students can get involved in giving back to a cause or helping their community in a way that matters to them, the lasting benefits can be far-reaching. As anyone who has ever volunteered knows, the satisfaction and pride that comes from helping others can be life-changing.
Students around the country are increasingly being required to perform community service hours as part of their education. It is up to teachers, schools and parents to guide kids and select a community service project that will be meaningful. This is best accomplished by also listening to the students, particularly middle to high school students. Chances are they have already given it some thought.
The ideas suggested above are just examples. There are myriad ways to get involved in the community and it begins by understanding the particular needs of the community. If you live near the beach, for example, cleaning the beach would be a perfect place to start.
There are many websites designed specifically for teens and tweens to help inspire them to step outside their sometimes egocentric world and help others. For teachers, there are also professional development courses to help them get started and organized. Learn more here.