Community Service Ideas for Kids

community-service-ideas-for-children

Community service projects are an important growing experience for children of all ages. Through working together, children learn to solve problems and make decisions that affect not only themselves, but their community as well. It helps them connect to local concerns, global issues, and gain a greater awareness of others’ well being. These attitudes will serve them both now and after they transition into the adult world. Here are a few ideas that could help get them started.

Community Improvement

  • Pick up litter in a park
  • Plant trees or wildflowers in the community
  • Plant a garden and donate fruits or vegetables to a local food bank
  • Start and maintain a recycling program at school

Literacy Based Ideas

  • Read a newspaper to an elderly person who may have trouble seeing small print
  • Have them read a book to a younger child who is learning how to read
  • Have them read a story to a senior citizen who needs companionship
  • Hold a used book sale and donate the funds collected to a charitable cause

Help Out Children in Hospitals

  • Have them put together a package for children in a hospital such as bubbles, craft supplies, activity books, or other items that may help brighten their day (New Items Only)
  • Hold a crayon, marker, and construction paper drive for the local hospital (New Items Only)

Animal Activities

  • Raise money for homeless or sick animals and donate it to a local cause
  • Help local animal shelters obtain items on their wish lists
  • Hold a fundraiser such as a walkathon or marathon, bowling event, or reading circle and donate the proceeds to a local shelter
  • Put out feeders and water for the local avian community

School Ideas

  • Start a SWAT team, standing for Student Who Assist Teachers.
  • Have children collect loose change around their homes, donating the collections to a charity of their choosing

Other Ideas

  • Visit the Pencil Project Website and collect pencils for needy children
  • Collect used items still in good condition such as athletic shoes, sweaters, scarves, mittens, and other items for those in need
  • Visit the Adopt A Platoon website and collect items for servicemen
  • Participate in the 20 grains of rice activity through the World Food Hunger Program
  • Participate in Earth Day activities

As you can see, there are many great ideas for community service projects. This list is only a short example of ideas that you can use to promote a sense of community and inspire your children.

The Unappreciated Philanthropy of Greek Life

 

Carl Turnley Philanthropy

The word “philanthropy” is, according to Google, derived from the Greek word “philanthropos,” meaning “man-loving.” Man-loving, in this sense, is the focus on feeling compassion and high regard of your fellow man; all of mankind as a whole is deserving of respect, regard, and, of course, assistance when needed. It only makes sense, then, that the connection between a word whose origins can be traced to Greece and college Greek life share such a close connection.

For many people, though, love of your fellow man isn’t what the first thing that comes to mind when they think about college fraternities.

 

So what is the first thing that comes to mind when I say the phrase “Greek life?” What about “fraternities” or “sororities?” If you pictured wild parties, hazing rituals, red solo cups and togas made of bedsheets, chances are your view of fraternities and sororities are more governed by what you’ve seen in movies and heard about during your time in college. If, on the other hand, you pictured well-organized, philanthropic events, year-round fundraising and a strong sense of compassion and the willingness to help others, you’ve hit the nail on the head.

 

Depending on where you went to college and your level of involvement in Greek life, you may have a very different opinion of the entire scenario.  While many people who never pledged a fraternity or sorority who attended a larger schools like Arizona State or Penn State may know the groups best for their weekend antics, the foundation of a fraternity isn’t in the parties they throw, it’s in the philanthropy they engage in.

 

Every fraternity and sorority on just about every campus across America carefully and meticulously plans out a series of fundraising events that benefit a charity–whether it’s local or national. These charities and philanthropic causes become the backbone for the fraternity or sorority’s event planning and fundraising each year. In 2011 at the University of Michigan, the University’s Greek life helped to raise over $75,000 to donate to charities–in a single week.  

 

Perhaps the biggest and best in Greek life fundraising is the annual event THON, which started at Penn State University in 1973 as a dance marathon to benefit charity. Since its onset, THON has partnered with the Four Diamonds Fund, which supports pediatric cancer research. The partnership, along with increased coverage of the event and a rate of participation from students both in and outside of Greek life has increased its charitable reach to epic proportions, recently raising over $14 million dollars in 2014 and over $9 million in 2016.

 

It’s time to break the mold of thinking when it comes to Greek life and the “party” culture that surrounds it. Often, Greek like winds up making strong changes of lives in people all over the glove.

A Culture of Giving

I’ve written before about how philanthropic actions should come from within. Helping people feels great, and even if it didn’t, it’s still a wonderful way to connect with other people who may have a need you can provide.

Company’s also understand this, because some are beginning to change the attitude with which they approach philanthropy. For a time, companies would make donations because of the associated tax benefits. But in a 2014 article for Inc., Marla Tabaka examines the giving spirit at other companies, and makes the case for why it’s important to create a culture of philanthropy wherever you are.

One reason she gives, is that charitable action can bring employees together. Sometimes, we rub elbows with our coworkers and bosses in meetings. Or a new employee joins the company, but is a bit slow to catch on to the rest of the culture. Because everything in the office is centered on work, correcting these problems may not come easily. After all, who has time to repair relationships or explore new ideas when that big project is due by the end of the week?

A culture of giving can bring your employees closer together.

A culture of giving can bring your employees closer together.

Community service encourages employees to work side-by-side in an environment where deadlines and the hard and fast rules of office expectations don’t necessarily apply. You and your co-workers will bond and work together on an activity that everyone involved is passionate about.

But how do you make sure everyone is on board to begin with? Involve everyone from the jump. If you’re in a management position, don’t pick an organization or cause at random. Get critical feedback and suggestions from other employees so you can be assured that the projects you pursue and the difference you contribute to won’t feel like just another work day.

Sometimes you may feel you just don’t have the time to help create a culture of giving, but Tabaka encourages you to get creative. She provides an example from the company culture of Zinepak, a Brooklyn-based publishing company. In order to make time, they created a rotating position that is in charge of organizing activities and projects dedicated to the community outside of the workplace.