This was revised from an article titled, “5 Meaningful Community Service Ideas for Students,” in order to share great service ideas with Pathway students.
To narrow the numerous volunteer options, you should first understand the causes you care about. Are you passionate about animals? Then maybe helping at your town’s animal shelter is something you would be excited about. You should tap into your interests to ensure the community service project has an impact.
Here are 5 ideas for community service options to think about:
1. Animals: Local animal shelters are always in need of volunteers even for simple tasks such as cleaning cages, answering phones, or making holiday decorations for the shelter waiting room. Contact a local shelter and speak with a volunteer coordinator to see what help is needed.
2. Seniors: Every community has senior citizens who would relish the time and help that you could lend. Most towns and cities have a senior center or a private nursing home where volunteers are needed. The recreation director who helps plans activities for the seniors is a good person to contact. Even a small amount of time with a senior can make a difference.
3. Helping other kids: For student athletes, a great way to give back to others is to volunteer at a Special Olympics event. There are hundreds of Special Olympics offices around the world, and all of them need volunteers at various times during the year. Find the Special Olympics office nearest your home. Get involved in Special Olympics Project UNIFY®. This is an education-based project where all youth are agents of change—fostering respect, dignity, and advocacy for people with intellectual disabilities.
4. Troop support: Volunteering to help support active duty U.S. servicemen and women is a great initiative. Begin by contacting an organization that ships packages to troops, such as Operation Gratitude or Operation Troop Support. These and other organizations collect donated items, which they package and send to individually named service members deployed in hostile regions. The donated items can include snacks, entertainment items, and personal letters of appreciation, as well as small items like socks, decks of cards, candy, and even toothbrushes. You can organize a donation drive and collect some of the most needed items. As the holidays approach, these organizations are also looking for volunteers to help wrap gifts to ship to servicewomen and men, and kids can also write cards and draw pictures to include in the packages. “For the soldiers, receiving the cards is truly priceless,” says Christine Moody of Operation Troop Support.
5. The environment: Many people care deeply about the threats facing our environment and may have an interest in helping their community “go green.” Community service ideas include planting a neighborhood garden or a tree for all to enjoy (with proper municipal permissions, of course); launching a campaign to get friends to put their computers and other electronic devices in sleep mode before going to bed, thereby saving energy; organizing (or participating in) a community cleanup day; or helping clear hiking trails or performing beach cleanups.
For more ideas to motivate you to volunteer, check out VolunteerMatch.org or Onebrick.org sites with enormous databases of nonprofit volunteer opportunities across the country.
Also, check your Bb & email, LikeUs on Facebook, and Follow Us on Twitter for monthly Pathway sponsored community service projects.