50 Ideas for Community Service: A Homeschool Helping Hand
I handed my children a 500-piece puzzle, stepped back, and waited in anticipation to see what would happen. To my surprise, my son wanted a challenge. He took charge and told everyone he wanted to piece the puzzle together without looking at the box! None of his siblings were on board with the idea. They wanted to see the big picture! As we provide homeschool community service opportunities for our children at a young age, we are handing them the pieces that will build their character. They may not see the big picture now, and we ourselves might not even realize the full extent of how these opportunities are going to change them but they will. We just need to start by giving them one piece at a time, and we will eventually see how it all fits together.
Start with Those Around You
Look around you and begin introducing your children to people they can help nearby. Bring meals to a neighbor who is unable to get out on her own. Offer to mow the lawn of a single mom who lives down the road. Have your children pet-sit for free when a friend of the family needs to go out of town unexpectedly. Schedule it into your routine so that homeschool community service becomes a permanent part of your curriculum. Bake cookies for the postal worker who delivers your mail every Christmas. Set aside a day each month to prepare meals for new moms or shut-ins and freeze them so they are ready when a need arises. Focus on those around you, then branch out.
Set the Example
When your children see you helping others, they will want to join in. If you do not already have certain community service acts that you do on your own, begin establishing specific homeschool community service activities as a family. Before sending them out on their own to mow a neighbor’s lawn, volunteer as a family raking your neighbor’s leaves. Before you sign up your daughter to sing for a program at the nursing home, go several times as a family and share a few songs with the elderly together.
Push Them Out of Their Comfort Zone
If the thought of putting a 500-piece puzzle together causes you to shove the box under the bed and never look at it again, you are not alone. We have to admit though, the satisfaction of its completion is worth the struggle. Your child might be nervous about stepping out and volunteering in a soup kitchen or helping out in a Habitat for Humanity environment, but usually it is just the fear of the unknown that causes hesitation. The thought of it might scare them, but these opportunities will not only bless those whom you intend to help but your child as well.
Let Them Loose
Once they start to feel comfortable in these types of situations, let them thrive with the opportunities that suit them! Do you have an animal lover? Let them choose a shelter to help out at. Is there a bookworm in your home? Encourage them to seek out a community service project that involves placing books in the hands of others. Now that you’ve begun to piece together the foundation of serving others, give them the freedom to see where their servant’s heart will take them!
Here’s Some Help Getting Started: 50 Ideas for Community Service
- Volunteer at the zoo.
- Walk an elderly neighbor’s dog.
- Serve a meal at a local homeless shelter.
- Grow vegetables and share them with those in need.
- Gather and donate food to a local food bank.
- Read stories to younger children at a local school/library.
- Donate books to a homeless shelter for children.
- Make cards and letters to send to troops overseas.
- Bring cookies to your local fire or police station
- Give a helping hand at a community theater with creating sets.
- Entertain the elderly with music.
- Volunteer at a local hospital.
- Sort donated baby clothes for a pregnancy center.
- Shovel snow from a neighbor’s driveway.
- Have a bake sale to raise money for someone’s cancer treatments.
- Knit scarves for homeless shelters.
- Bring a meal to a family with a new baby.
- Offer to babysit for a single mom.
- Provide meals for families at the Ronald McDonald House.
- Provide backpacks filled with personal hygiene items for foster kids.
- Do office work for charities or shops like Habitat ReStore.
- Help out with your local Special Olympics.
- Shelve books and/or hold a story hour at the library.
- Take a meal to workers for Habitat for Humanity or volunteer to help on builds.
- Foster a pet in your home.
- Help raise future assistance dogs.
- Donate supplies to a local animal shelter.
- Deliver a warm meal with Meals on Wheels.
- Create blessing bags to have on hand to give out to the homeless.
- Donate books to the library for their fundraising sales.
- Pack a backpack with school supplies for local schools to give to children in need.
- Greet soldiers when they return from deployment.
- Volunteer at a veteran’s home.
- Adopt a soldier to encourage during their deployment.
- Send care packages to soldiers through Operation Gratitude.
- Donate stuffed animals to S.A.F.E., a non-profit organization that provides comfort for children experiencing traumatic events.
- Participate as a lawyer or juror in a local teen court.
- Volunteer at your local police department.
- Clean up your neck of the woods with the program Keep America Beautiful.
- Volunteer at a National Park.
- Join clean up teams after community events.
- Pick up trash at a local beach.
- Help out in a community garden.
- Serve at a nursing home.
- Offer to vacuum, weed, or take out the trash for a neighbor.
- Hold a canned food drive.
- Host a free car wash for single moms.
- Hand out get-well cards to hospital patients.
- Create cards for nursing home residents.
- Write thank you cards to local politicians.