IN THIS ARTICLE:
– Welcome: “Volunteerism – Growing by giving”
– Feature: “How to be a Local Hero”
– Teacher/Parent Book Pick – “500 Service Ideas for Young People”
– K-3 Book Pick – “The Berenstain Bears Think of Those in Need”
– K-3 Book Pick – “How We Made the World a Better Place”
– 4-6 Book Pick – “Kid’s Guide to Social Action”
– Web Discoveries – “How to donate your valuable time”
– Words of Wisdom – “The spirit of contribution”
WELCOME: “Volunteerism – Growing by giving”
“Interpersonal Skills” are key Life Skills to develop. Helping other people with volunteer works is a powerful way to build social skills, to develop empathy in children and to improve our world. An added benefit is that children can learn so much about themselves by helping others.
There are unlimited opportunities to help others worldwide. This month’s newsletter gives a few ideas for enriching yourself and your children.
The on-line web resources are limited to the United States but our international readers will still find all the concepts useful. Enjoy!
With best regards,
Kent Davis – Editor
FEATURE: “How to be a Local Hero”
On National Youth Service Day this year, more than 3 million young people and adults joined together to work on more than 10,000 community improvement projects. They cleaned up lots, started reading rooms for inner city kids, gathered toys for sick children and did good works nationwide.
National Youth Service Day is April 20-21. You can find out more at http://www.ysa.org *but* you don’t have to wait until then to help!
Getting involved in a positive project today is easier than you think. Opportunities are all around! Here are a few simple ideas to get you and your students started (with hundreds more in the books and links below).
MAKE “CARE PACKAGES” for children admitted to local shelters or hospitals. Include toys, magazines, books, crayons, paper, stickers or homemade decorations. Wrap your items in small boxes to create gifts to cheer their day.
HELP A SENIOR CITIZEN – So many seniors would enjoy a hand from someone younger. You can help with chores around the house or yard. Even taking a dog for a walk may be a blessing for some. How about teaching them how to surf the Internet? A few lessons from a young person would go a long way (I personally rely on kids for computer help on a regular basis!).
CLEAN UP litter, wherever you find it. A local park or church property may really appreciate your help. Just ask.
PLANT trees, shrubs or flowers for a neighborhood garden.
DONATE – This is an obvious way to help others – giving away things you’re lucky to have but don’t use any more. But rather than just dumping a box of old cloths in a bin, why not take a more active role? Find out who in your area can really use them. The same goes for books and toys. Be creative and get involved in getting your goods to the right people.
VISIT – No extra money? No extra clothes? No great skills to donate? No problem! Your most precious gift can be your time. There are people in nursing homes and hospitals who don’t have enough friends in their life.
DO A GOOD DEED A DAY – Train yourself to look for opportunities and you’ll see more and more of them. Devoting a day to an organized volunteer project is a wonderful thing. But you can find a chance to help someone else *every* day; with a home work problem, with a broken bicycle, carrying packages, sweeping a walk, giving directions, helping someone who’s hurt, etc.
TEACHER/PARENT BOOK PICKS
From simple projects to large campaigns, this book has plenty of ideas for children who want to make a difference. It’s ideal for Grades 4 and up, but creative teachers and parents can adapt many of the ideas for younger kids, too. The authors offer a variety of topics, including animals, crime fighting, the environment, friendship, hunger, literacy, politics and government. If you’re seeking ways to empower your children, students or organization members to “get out and do something good” this book is a terrific start.
GRADE K-3 BOOK PICKS
This book has 256 pages of ideas from children involved in successful volunteer works. In 1997, Fairview Press sponsored a writing contest challenging kids to write about something that they had done to change the world. Children from across the U.S. wrote in. Some helped clothe the homeless. A Girl Scout Troop sponsored needy families during the holidays. These inspiring stories describe how other kids made positive changes in their communities.
This 24 page cartoon book is a simple way to introduce community help concepts to younger children. Like many of us, the Bear family simply has too much “stuff”. Mama Bear convinces the family that cleaning the house will simplify their cluttered lives *and* benefit those who are in need. It’s the inspiration for a family cleanup project that gives a wonderful lesson in volunteerism.
GRADE 4-6 BOOK PICK
The authors use inspiring “real-life” examples to inspire children to action in this revised edition. The book includes step-by-step instructions for writing letters, doing interviews, making speeches, taking surveys, and more. It also includes up-to-date resources and techniques to get press coverage for projects.
WEB DISCOVERIES: for teachers, parents & kids
Wow! I had no idea that volunteer resources in my area were this accessible. SERVEnet is your one-stop portal for information and resources on service and volunteering.
This service lets you post and find volunteer opportunities, service news, events, best practices, and other resources. Just enter your zip code – the site will give you plenty of local volunteer projects, details and contact information.
Here are two groups specifically for adults who want to get involved helping children:
**** Save The Children – Helping America’s Forgotten Children
Life is extremely hard for children growing up in poverty in the United States, regardless of where they live. Opportunities to grow and thrive are limited by inadequate education, poor health care and a lack of quality jobs for parents. The resulting damage often leaves a deep scar on children, decreasing their chances of succeeding in school, getting good jobs, and living a healthy life.
Save the Children invites you to help change – perhaps even save – the life of a child in your community. Along the way, you may find your own life changed as well. If you’re interested in helping, visit their website or call 800-728-3843.
**** The National Mentoring Partnership
This group is an advocate and clearinghouse for mentoring initiatives nationwide. Right on the home page, you’ll find links to “Become A Mentor,” “Find a Mentor,” “Be a Better Mentor,” or “Start a Program.”
WORDS OF WISDOM: The Spirit of Contribution
There are wonderful quotes on this topic. Discuss a few of your favorites below with your students and children to see what they think.
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me, and I may remember.
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is:
What are you doing for others?”
Martin Luther King Jr.
“If you want happiness for a lifetime, help someone else.”
“Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can
change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Margaret Mead, anthropologist
“I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can
do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it
now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again…”
“To err is human. To volunteer is divine.”
“Ask not what your country can do for you,
but what you can do for your country!”
John F. Kennedy
“The gift of time is priceless.”
“When you help someone up a hill,
you’re that much nearer the top yourself.”
“People who say it cannot be done
should not interrupt those who are doing it.”
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
“Our good works are like stones cast into the pool of time; though the
stones themselves may disappear their ripples extend to eternity.”
“Volunteers don’t necessarily have the time, they just have the heart.”
“People are homeless, hungry and sick.
Somebody should do something about this. Be Somebody.”
Volunteer Coordinator – Health Care for the Homeless, Baltimore, Md.