4-H Community Service
Each year we ask all 4-H clubs to do a community service project. Why? It is our way of giving back to our communities and local businesses - who are so generous to support our 4-H programs. As a 4-H club, you certainly find a way to benefit someone or something in your community. Here are the steps to get started...
WHAT DO YOU NEED?
A desire to help others. If you have that, you are well 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?
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?
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?
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.