Each year we ask 4-H clubs to do a community service project. Why? It is our way of giving back to the community, which is so generous to us in support of our programs. Each club can decide what type of project they are going to do. But you can also do one by yourself or maybe volunteer to organize your clubs community service project. I have given you the steps to get started. Good luck as you plan.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO GET STARTED?
A desire to help others. If you have that you are on your way to community service.
Many young people like you are concerned about what's going on in their neighborhoods and communities and are looking for ways to get started. Why are so many youth interested in serving their communities? Because they want to:
- Make a difference
- Develop new skills
- Explore career paths
- Have fun working with friends
- Feel good about themselves
Whatever your reason for volunteering, once involved, it's easy to get hooked.
HOW DO YOU GET STARTED?
First, think about the skills and talents that you or your group has. You don't want to volunteer to help build something if you don't want to use a hammer or power tools. What group of people do you like to work with?
List all of your skills, interests, and talents
Second, what are the community needs? Take a look around your area. Do parks, cemeteries, etc. need cleaned? Does the food pantry need donations? Do families need coats, hats, mittens, scarves, and boots for the winter? Do the elderly need their walks and driveways shoveled? Does meals on wheels need help? Does the local animal shelter need volunteers? Baby-sit for a family (for free) so the parents can go out, decorate a tree for an elderly neighbor, send shut-ins cards, bake cookies, etc.. Make a list of all possibilities. Make sure you find a group or activity that fits with your interests and talents. If you find a community service project that you enjoy you will stay with it and look forward to doing it.
SO WHAT WILL YOU DO?
Taking into consideration your skills, talents and interest and needs of the community and groups, what are you going to do? This is where you write your project goal. (Example: I will do a mitten drive and donate them to the school to hand out.)
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER IN YOUR PLANNING
1. About how many people will you need to help you get the project done?
2. What supplies do you need? Where can you get them? Can you get them donated?
3. Do you need money? How much? Where will you get it?
4. Do you need permission to do this? Who do you contact to get the OK for this project? (You need to let the extension office know what you are planning, are their others who need to be contacted?)
Do you need permission slips? Be sure to have names and phone numbers of people to contact in case of emergency. Make sure you have safe equipment and a first aid kit.
Now that you have a goal, what is your plan? It is time for action. Working with others in your group, fill in the answers to these questions.
Who will be your project leader? Is it you? If so, do you need some help from a parent or others? What roles need to be filled to make everything happen? Figure out who will be in charge of what right now so everyone knows what to do.
What's the name of the project leader? ___________________________
Which adults will help you? _____________________________________
Who will make the supply list and get supplies? _____________________
Who will raise money to pay for the project? ________________________
Who will provide and serve refreshments? __________________________
Who will make posters or fliers? __________________________________
What other jobs need to be done? ________________________________
TIMELINE FOR THE PROJECT
Use the questions above to fill in the answers below:
Activities to be done
Steps to get project done
(example- Get 10 gal. paint - Sue Smith by Sept. 28 Donation from hardware)
- Be clear on the exact time people to need to arrive and how long they should plan to stay.
- Set a meeting place.
- Create a transportation plan. How will people get there?
- Let volunteers know if food will be provided or do they need to bring something
- Warn people of what type of clothes to wear.
- Brainstorm a detailed supply list.
- Make sure volunteers know about any supplies they need to bring- shovels, rakes, markers, garbage bags, etc.
- Don't forget the restrooms. You need to make these arrangements.
Thank all of your volunteers and contributors to this project.
Take before and after pictures, or action shots and share these with the paper and keep a scrapbook.
Will you do this project again? Do you have another idea? It can be fun to build traditions and work with the same people on projects again and again. There is always something you can do to make a difference.
Take a look at yourself, your community, and then get involved. Giving to others is the best gift you will ever give yourself.
Community Service Ideas
These are groups and organizations in the area that could use our help or assistance. We just need to ask. We hope this list will help you club members start their own brainstorming process of getting involved in Community Service.
Libraries- story hours, donate books, repair books, offer puppet shows, offer short sessions for younger kids on certain project areas
Parks- cleanup days, plantings, monthly programs, construction, paint, equipment safety checks, petting zoos
Fish Stocking- contact PA Fish Commission
Lions Club- eye glass donation
Elderly- check mail, shovel, mow, rake, weed, plant flowers
Say "Good Morning" Day to everyone
Day Cares- work with kids, donate toys, take animals for programs
Plant Trees- Game Commission, Bureau of Forestry
Parades- participate with floats
Foster Care- collect and donate luggage, care packages for kids, donate stuffed animals
Human Services- working with the blind, disabled
Habitat for Humanity
Fall Marathon- help with water, etc.
Bowling for disabled- keep score, volunteer to aid
Crisis Center- care packages
Day Centers for Disabled adults
Fresh Air Kids
Senior Center- Adopt-a-grandparent, programs
Water Treatment Plant
Meals on Wheels
Help at fair with disabled or elderly
Children's Home- fun day or help with animals at the facility
Historical Society at fair
American Cancer Society
American Heart Association
Joint program with Girl Scouts/Boy Scouts
Fire Co. & Ambulances- emergency distribution packs, stuffed animals for kids, blankets, quilts, clothes, smoke detectors for barns wired to homes, smoke detectors for low income families
Food Bank- donations and food drives
Winter Coat Exchange
"Hay Help Day " for farmers
We can all make a difference, we just need to get started!
How about trying some of these fun ideas in your community:
- Christmas Caroling
- Christmas Stockings
- Easter Basket Donations
- Easter Egg Hunt
- Easter Dinners
- Festival of Lights
- Gift Wrapping
- Garden Projects
- Handicap Riding
- Mothers Day Tea
- Mural Projects
- Thanksgiving Dinner
- Toy Donations
- Trail rides
- Tree Decorating