Here is a list of service projects and opportunities for kids to volunteer within their community that will empower kids with responsibility, engage their compassion, and offer them the chance to affect the lives of others. Service projects to serve the elderly, service projects working with younger children, service projects that help the environment… locally and globally, kids can make a difference!
2. Collect sleep-away camp items for Camp Dreamcatcher, a program for children whose lives have been affected by HIV/AIDS.
3. Donate kids’ craft kits to a local children’s hospital.
4. Organize a board game night at your local nursing home. Gather your friends and favorite classic games, and plan a fun afternoon.
5. Decorate placemats for Meals on Wheels.
6. Wrap gifts during the holidays for Barnes and Noble to raise money for a specific cause.
7. Make a no-sew fleece blanket for a child in need through Project Linus.
8. Organize a food drive in your neighborhood, church, or school.
9. Have a garage sale or lemonade stand for your favorite cause.
10. Plan an afternoon of fun: crafts, a movie and popcorn afternoon, or a kickball tournament at a children’s home or refugee center. Plan a day of fun!
11. When school supplies are very cheap at the beginning of the year, pack up a backpack and supplies for a local child in need (the YMCA frequently collects these, in addition to other organizations).
12. Bring gently used board games and decks of cards to a local homeless shelter.
14. Write a letter to your elected official about a cause you believe in.
15. Collect DVD’s and videogames you no longer use/watch and donate them to a Children’s Hospital for patients, or to KidFlicks, an organization that set up movie libraries in the children’s wards of hospitals.
17. Read stories to or share your talent with younger children. Be a positive role model that kids can look up to!
18. Work with your local high school or college to place empty boxes on campus at the end of school. Collect textbooks for students who need them in Tanzania, Sierra Leone, and other African nations (and keep them out of landfills!).
19. Stuff warm socks with snacks and fruit to pass out to people who are homeless.
20. Secretly rake leaves or shovel snow for a neighbor in need.
21. Make sure your school is recycling- talk to your city hall to get recycling bins for all of the classrooms and make posters to explain what materials can be recycled.
22. Hold a “dog wash” to raise money for a local animal shelter.
23. Volunteer to read letters or the newspaper to residents in nursing homes.
24. Collect used sporting equipment and donate to communities that do not have access (such as IAYS that works with the Peace Corps to deliver worldwide).
25. Donate used baby and toddler toys to a nearby church, synagogue, mosque, or temple for their youngest members. Most places of worship have a place for little ones to be entertained during services.
26. Buy a kit from KidKnits- yarn made by widows in Rwanda or Chile, that comes with instructions to knit a hat plus cultural information. A simple craft to change the world!
27. Do you have a cool talent or hobby? Ask your local Girl Scout or Boy Scout group if they would like you to come in to be a guest speaker. You can share your collection, hobby, or talent with them, and allow them to ask questions and learn more about it.
28. Go through the books you’ve grown out of and donate them to the waiting room of a local dentist or doctor.
30. Hold a spa day at a nearby nursing home for residents: paint their nails and do their hair and make-up.
31. Donate your gently used stuffed animals to a local firehouse or police station to give to children in emergencies.
32. Find out when the next sporting event is for your local Special Olympics teams, and go there as cheerleaders for the participants with signs, balloons, and noisemakers.
33. Work with your friends to make a “New Student” guide to your town that includes your favorite parks, a map of the neighborhood, and fun things to do.
34. Plant a garden or tree that your school or neighborhood can enjoy.
35. Promote bike-riding and carpooling at your school to reduce traffic and air pollution.
What did I miss? There are so many opportunities to teach our kids about volunteerism and helping others- what are your favorite service projects for kids?