Kids Can... Get the Job Done!

 By Giving Service In the Community


    Whether they are out to change the world, save the environment, or just tackle the daily challenges of growing up, kids and teens can benefit from the sense of competency and self-confidence that comes from engaging in a service project.
    Plus, community service is a great way to build life experience, potential job skills, and to build an impressive resume that will come in handy when they are applying for jobs, scholarships, and college admissions. Below is a listing of many
    different types of service projects that a family, school, or KIDS CLUB chapter might do. Please contact us with any questions or suggestions or to let us know how your service project went.


    Grow a School Garden
    Kids spend many hours a day in school and a garden is one way to reintroduce nature into the school day. Kids can plant, water, weed, care for the soil, harvest, and EAT! Did you know, some schools grow enough food in their school garden to provide part of the produce needed in the school cafeteria? But if your school doesn’t have a garden, perhaps you could help get one started. Talk to teachers, school administrators, and the student council. Come up with a proposal together and be sure to let parents in on the project. You will need parents to help organize donations of labor and materials. And of course, you will need to help make a plan for taking care of that garden. Teachers can help coordinate whose classes will help with watering and other tasks.


    Adults will want to read Asphalt to Ecosystems, by Sharon Danks for a comprehensive look at  transforming your schoolyard.  

    See also:  for how to get started and  for some fun ideas & examples.





    Share Your Lunch
    A project of the Second Harvest Food Bank, the Share Your Lunch drive collects donations of food and cash to help feed local children. Kids can organize neighbors, schools, church groups, or etc. to collect donations. Just contact Second
    Harvest Food Bank to arrange for a bin to be dropped off. Be sure to ask about donating produce from your garden as well! You can get more info on the Share Your Lunch program here:


    Give Free Books
    The We Give Books program is a free online program that allows anyone with access to the Internet to put books in the
    hands of children who don't have them, simply by reading online! Just choose the charity you want to read for and then select the books you want to read. For each book you read online, they donate a book to a leading literacy group on your behalf. The more you read, the more they give. To learn more visit:


    Volunteer at a Local Wildlife Preserve
    Wherever you live, there's some kind of local wildlife that needs human beings to protect and nurture it, and this might be a great place for you to volunteer your time. You could help out with folding newsletters, taking care of the grounds, making decorations for special events, or helping out with classes and workshops for younger kids. Just let them know you think it's a special place and that you'd
    really like to help out. Even if they don't have a regular task for you, they'll put you on their contact list, to notify you when they need help. See what the US Fish & Wildlife Service has to say about volunteering:


    Donate a Tree… Or a Goat!
    Through Heifer International you can actually help people around the world stop and even reverse deforestation by donating money for H.I. to give them trees and seedlings. You can also select a farm animal that will help them produce milk, eggs, meat, or wool. Donating through Heifer International could be a family project, a great gift to give in a loved one’s honor, or an excellent goal for a fundraising project!


    Build or Repair Someone’s Home
    Join Habitat for Humanity in the fight against homelessness and against unsafe or inadequate housing around the world!
    Habitat for Humanity has projects and volunteer opportunities for youth ages 5 to 25, as well as their teachers and
    youth group leaders. To learn more visit:


    Pick Up Litter
    Litter is more than unsightly. It ends up in storm drains and washes into our local rivers and oceans where it creates serious problems for wildlife. Contact your local parks department, local water district, or wildlife preserves for information about upcoming clean up opportunities. Many cities have “adopt a park” programs
    where families and other groups (like an E.K. KIDS CLUB chapter) can sign up to do regular clean-up – monthly, quarterly, or more often. But of course, putting litter in its place doesn’t have to be a special event. Whether you’re an All-Star Stan or a Keep It Clean Jean, you can keep your school or neighborhood litter free:


    Start a Recycling Drive
    Putting litter in its place is a great start. But do you know where all that litter goes if you don’t recycle it? It goes into the landfill! And every time a landfill gets full, a new place must be found to become the next garbage dump. What’s more, not only do these new landfill sites take habitat away from animals and nature access away from human beings, but they also become a nasty chemical stew that can potentially release hazardous chemicals into the air, the water, and the earth. So let’s recycle! Work with your family to cut down on the amount of stuff you put into the landfill. Then ask your teachers, school administrators, and student council about your school’s recycling policy. Ask them to help you come up with a plan to cut down
    on your school’s garbage (land fill) production and increase recycling efforts. To learn more about starting a recycling program in your school:


    Compost Your School Lunch
    Well your lunch leftovers that is. What does your school do with all those apple cores and banana peels and other leftover foodstuffs from the cafeteria? Chances are they toss it in the trash, and from there it goes into the landfill. Talk
    to your school officials and student council about composting all that waste instead. Composting is where natural refuse is allowed to rot down in a special way that helps it turn back into enrichment for the soil. Does your school have
    a garden? If so, the compost could then be used to maintain the nutrients in the soil, eliminating the need to add nasty chemical fertilizers. For more info:


    Get Prepared at Home & at School
    Just like brushing our teeth, eating right, and getting regular check-ups, emergency preparedness is something we do to take care of ourselves and our families. Hopefully you will never have to deal with a natural disaster, but isn’t it nice to know you’d be ready if it happened? Review your preparedness plans with your family and identify what you can do to become better prepared. Talk to your school or KIDS CLUB chapter about hosting an Emergency Preparedness Challenge Month. Group members can share information and work with their families then report back to the group on what actions they have taken to be ready. For more information:


    Help Out at Your Local Animal Shelter
    Your local animal shelter is desperately in need of donations -- pet supplies, money, and volunteer help. Call or stop by your local animal shelter, or check their web page, and let them know you would like to help out. If you are under 16, your shelter may not be able to have you work on site with the animals (liability issues). But you may be able to help out in other ways, such as collecting donations of old blankets or fostering animals in your home. Google ” Humane Society [name of your town]” to find a shelter near you.



    More Ways to Give Service, Some Suggestions

    There are many other ways to help out in your community -- helping out in a classroom with children younger than yourself, visiting someone who's lonely or new to the neighborhood, helping pass out food or blankets to the homeless, helping care for stray animals -- just to name a few. 

    Other places to check to offer your help are: your local community center, the library, local churches, museums, and local schools. Also try, retirement homes for the elderly, shelters for battered/abused women and their children, and your local food bank . All of these may have jobs that young people can help out with.




    Helpful Links



    The Big Help  

    The Big Help -"Nickelodeon's ongoing, pro-social campaign to connect kids to their communities through volunteering. " This year's Big Help focus is on parks cleaning and fixing up local parks. The slogan is: "Make your mark! Help your park!"


    Roots & Shoots
    Sponsored by the Jane Goodall institute

    The mission of this program is "to foster respect and compassion for all living things, to promote understanding of all cultures and beliefs and to inspire each individual to take action to make the world a better place for the environment, animals and the human community. All Roots & Shoots members, from pre-K to university, demonstrate their care and concern for living things through service projects in their communities."

    For more information about how you can get involved, visit their web page, read up on what Roots & Shoots are doing in your area or how you can help start a local chapter yourself. There are also ideas for things that you can do all on your own. Don't forget to join their online mailing list so you can find out about upcoming events.


    Hands-On Network

    HandsOn Network, an enterprise of Points of Light, is the largest network of 250 volunteer action centers that extend to 16 countries around the world. These centers help people find and engage in volunteer opportunities in their local communities. They focus on innovative approaches to leveraging individual and corporate time and talent to solve community challenges. They also partner with more than 70,000 corporate, faith and nonprofit organizations to manage volunteer resources, and developing the leadership capacity of volunteers. Annually, the network delivers approximately 30 million hours of volunteer service valued at $626 million.


    Youth Service America

    This resource center hosts an alliance of over 200 organizations committed to strengthening the "Effectiveness, Sustainability, and Scale of the youth service movement." Y.S.A. promotes local solutions to community problems. Check this site for ideas about how to volunteer in your community and who to contact to get started or for more information.



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