10 Practical Ways for Teens to Get Involved in Community
Diploma of community services will have a face-to-face class time, online work, project work and industry experience methods. A common complaint most parents have is that their children do not engage in more meaningful activities. Many children would rather play the latest Nintendo game or challenge their friends to games on their Wii’s.
As parents we want our children to experience all that life has to offer and for them to become productive members of our society. One of the best ways we can accomplish this is to get our children involved in our community. The experiences they gain will not only teach them about the world around them but it will also help our children to learn compassion and good will towards others.
If you have a child approaching college, community service is essential for them when filling out college applications. Most colleges do not only look at a student’s grades, they also want to know what kind of community service a student has performed over the years. Many scholarship applications ask students to write about their community service experiences.
There are many ways you can get your family actively involved in the community. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
1 – Have your child volunteer their time at your local library. Many libraries have a need for student volunteers. The volunteers help to read stories to the younger children and help out at library events. Most libraries have sign in sheets to keep track of student volunteer service hours. Children can volunteer at some libraries as early as sixth grade.
2 – Volunteer at your local animal shelter. You’ll have to check with the shelter about age requirements. For the most part volunteers help to walk the dogs and socialize the dogs and cats so that they are suitable for adoption. Shelter employees will make sure that young volunteers are not put in harms way or have them work with dangerous animals. Your child can also help with fundraising efforts by collecting blankets, food and other supplies the shelter needs.
3 – Have your child gather up unused toys, books and clothing that no longer fit and donate it to a local charity. Places such as homeless shelters, children’s homes and battered women’s shelters are always in great need for such donations. By doing this it will enlighten your child to the plight of people who find themselves in dire circumstances to help them gain compassion for those less fortunate then themselves. Remind your child how happy they will make another child by donating their toys to a child who might no otherwise have any toys to call their own.
4 – As a family collect non-perishable foods and donate them to a local food bank. During these hard times more and more people are finding it harder to cover their basic needs, including food. Together, as a family, collect a few extra cans of non-perishable foods each time you go food shopping and drop them off at a local food bank. This is another great way to teach your child to have compassion for others.
5 – Teach your child all about Random Acts of Kindness (RAK’s). Explain to your child how even the smallest act of kindness can make a big difference in someone’s life. Explain to your child how easy it is to do something nice for others such as holding the door open for someone, assist an elderly person with their packages or take out the trash for a neighbor. For more information you can visit the Acts of Kindness site. (www.actsofkindness.org/).
6 – Have your family get involved in a charitable activity such as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) “Walk for a Cure” or the American Cancer Society’s “Relay for Life”. It is a great way to help raise money and awareness for a good cause. Walks and relays are also a great form of exercise.
7 – If you have younger children you can get them involved by having them color and draw pictures and mail them to Color a Smile (www.colorasmile.org/). The organization takes the drawings and coloring pages from children across the country and mails them to nursing homes, shut-ins, hospitals and other places where people can use a smile. Even a very young child can learn about being kind and giving to others by donating their wonderful artwork to bring a smile to someone else’s face.
8 – A great learning experience that will last a life time is to teach your child to be more environmentally responsible. Teach your child about recycling and alternatives that are healthier and safer for our environment. Educate your child about the effects our actions have on our planet and how even little things can have a huge impact. Have your child commit to doing at least one environmentally friendly act on a daily basis.
9 – Have your child join an organization such as the Boys Scouts, Girl Scouts, Student Government, church Youth Group or 4-H. Most of these groups do many community service programs throughout the year.
10 – Help your child find a cause or issue they are passionate about such as save the Polar Bears, which are an issue my daughter feels strongly about. It’s very important for your child to understand and recognize issues outside of the realm of their day to day lives. Brain storm with your child and find out ways you can help them. Invite other children and family members to get involved. Set up play dates with other children so that they can come up with ideas on how they want to help bring awareness to their cause.
There are many ways in which your child can become an active member of your community. The key is to find something your child is passionate about or that your child enjoys doing and research available opportunities for your child to get involved in.
Kimberly Vetrano is a mother, wife, business owner, freelance writer & photographer and a mini zoo keeper. She blogs at She Scribes (http://www.SheScribes.com) and can also be found at her business Everyday-Occasions ([http://www.Everyday-Occasions.com]).
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