NOTE: “School” can be a public, private, charter or even Sunday school environment.
1. Communicate the need.
To get the entire school behind your service, you need to communicate what the need is, who needs it and what the benefit will be to the person, organization or group you are doing the service for. You can do this via flyers, newsletters, bulletin boards, announcements, web listings and more.
2. Start a club.
Start a service club at your school to communicate the projects you are doing, to find new ones and to share those with your school.
Collecting items for the needy is a great way to recycle items you have. It also allows you to share in a small way as individuals who create a big impact by doing it as a group. Items we have collected at school include:
- Food (non-perishable)
- Coats (gently used)
- Mittens / gloves
- Used eyeglasses (in coordination with the Lion’s Club)
- School supplies
4. Serving my school.
As a Girl Scout troop, we picked up trash on the playground, planted flowers around the flagpole and trimmed box tops. Find out if there are jobs or activities that need to be done but have no one to do them. This might be as simple as directing parents during evening events, handing out flyers or getting other students active in school service. Volunteer to help.
5. Serving for my community.
Check with local organizations such as shelters, day care centers, nursing homes, etc. and find out what service they need. If you’re short on ideas, they can at least help you understand what is needed in your community.
6. My community.
Some organizations are not only looking for help, they’re looking for new ideas as well. Look at your community and its challenges. Identify the problems that need to be solved or issues that have been overlooked. Brainstorm service that you can do to help meet these needs.
7. Service learning.
While collecting items sounds like a simple project, actually learning while doing service helps kids connect their service through things they do every day. This might be mentoring or tutoring in a skill they know well, connecting a life lesson through service, learning about the state of animal shelters and more. Take your service up a notch so the kids actually learn while they are helping.
8. Plant a garden.
Planting a garden can not only allow you to see science in action, but do service as well. If you choose to put vegetables in your garden, you can donate foodstuffs to food shelves or soup kitchens. You can plant a butterfly garden to help butterflies such as monarchs. Explore how a simple garden can give you more than just a learning experience.
This might be picking up trash, raking leaves, pulling weeds or collecting branches after a storm. Don’t limit yourself to your school yard. Find elderly in the neighborhood who could use a helping hand. Alternatively, the school might choose to adopt a highway, park or other community area to keep clean.
10. Go green.
From recycling packing materials to ink cartridges, there are a lot of items you can recycle. Some will even make the school some money. Let the students determine the materials to recycle and how to promote the program. This might include monthly classroom challenges or school goals. Put any money made back into the recycling program.
11. Donation center.
While everyone is happy to donate school supplies at the beginning of the year because it is cheap to do so, getting donations halfway through the year is harder. Start a donation center for students for items like pencils, notebooks and folders. Ask your community to donate any unused and / or unwanted items. You may choose to stick to normal school items or branch out into items needed for specific programs like art supplies or classroom items like paper towels. Brainstorm ways to keep this project running all year long.
12. Specific programs.
Check out one or more of these sites to find more information on ways you can do service and change your world.
- YSA: Youth Changing the World — www.ysa.org
- Do Something — www.dosomething.org
- Generation On — www.generationon.org
Don’t feel limited by these sites. Check out more ways schools and kids are serving their community.
13. Explore ideas.
Check out the Enrichment Project supplement with specific service project ideas. See if you can use one or more of these. You can also use the list as a starting point for your own brainstorming session.
SUPP_School Service Ideas.pdf
- Possible service ideas for a school or large group
Sites to Explore