One of the great things about raising a preteen is that they are at an age when they can take on more responsibility and even give more to their schools, communities and other organizations. One of the ways tweens can contribute is through service projects. Some middle schools
even require that their students give back by participating in community service projects either as a class or on their own. By participating or volunteering
, your child can learn leadership skills, a little about the community in which he lives and even a little about his own interests and passions. He or she may also learn a little more about how organization and support groups operate, and how challenging it can be at times to work through the proper channels to get the job done. End the end, however, it's very likely that your child will learn how satisfying it can be to help out and lend a hand.
If your child would like to tackle a service project the ideas below might offer up a little inspiration.
Community Service and Middle School Students
Give Back to the School: It may not be your child's first choice, but chances are his or her school could use a little updating or benefit from a few improvements. The school principal might have a wish list of projects for the school, such as creating a butterfly garden, painting the girls' lockeroom, or cleaning out and painting the band closet. If your child's school can't use his services, a local elementary school or preschool might have just the service project waiting for him.
Clean Up a Park: Your local park or nature trail has probably seen better days and could use a little sprucing up. Contact the park ranger or local parks and recreation director for permission and advice on what needs to be done. Trash pick up is always needed at popular destinations, but it's also possible that your child could work on clearing a trail, hanging bird houses or making informative brochures for visitors to read.
Work an Event: There are numerous ways your child can help out at an event or fundraiser. If your tween has an interest in a specific cause, he or she could contact the local chapter and offer to help out at the next big event or fundraiser. Non-profit groups might use your child to check in runners for a marathon or 5K, or your child could end up selling food at a concession stand. Just make sure your tween picks an organization that he's truly interested in helping, and try to match his skills or talents with his volunteer work.
Educate the Public: Service projects can include projects that educate the community about a local concern or need as well as the solutions or actions needed to tackle those concerns. Getting the word out about causes or public concerns isn't an easy service project to take on, but the work can truly prove beneficial in the end. For example, your child might decide to take on the issue of school bullying, and ways to prevent or manage the situation. Other issues could include the encouragement of using local recycling programs or the benefits of eating locally grown produce and other foods.
Organize a Drive: If your child doesn't have an enormous amount of time to spend on a project, organizing a drive might be a good option for him. He could organize a book or toy drive for a local library or preschool, or maybe your tween could organize a drive for a specific group of individuals locally or elsewhere, such as after an earthquake, hurricane or other event that requires relief efforts.