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Ideas for Student Volunteer Projects

written by: Julia Bodeeb • edited by: Wendy Finn • updated: 1/5/2012

Students benefit greatly from community involvement, not to mention it looks great on a college applications! Encourage your class to get active in their community with these tips.

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    Sparking Student Interest in Volunteering

    Teaching students about empathy and compassion is always a noble pursuit. Helping students get involved in community service will help them build skills, make new friends, and build self confidence.Most college applications ask students about their community involvement so helping them participate in good deeds will also start to build a strong college application.

    Mentor a Club

    Teachers may want to start a new service club at the school to give students an additional opportunity to get involved in community service. There are so many sectors of each community that could use volunteers. Get involved and set up new programs to help students serve their town and build a resume full of volunteer work.

    Call various places like hospitals, libraries, nature centers and so on to get contact information about where and how students can apply to serve as volunteers. Find places in the local area that will offer valuable learning experiences to students who serve as volunteers. Reach out to local charities and ask about key upcoming projects for which they may need extra volunteers.

    Bring Newspapers for Students to Check for Volunteer Opportunities

    Help students be proactive to find volunteer opportunities. Bring in local newspapers and while doing a lesson involving reading articles also give them extra time to scan the paper to find listings for upcoming charity events and postings for volunteers needed. Find examples of successful projects to share with students to inspire them to create their own community service ideas.

    Books

    Bring in books that describe teenagers who have achieved great success with community work. A great book that describes efforts to help the world by teenagers is “Giving” by Bill Clinton.This book describes many charity groups that utilize student volunteers. It also gives vast information about how to donate to charities online and how to find out ideas for new community projects. The book has an enormous amount of information about how young people can reach out and do a good deed to help the world.

    Bring in Speakers

    Contact local charities and see if you can get someone to come in and speak to students about volunteer activities and project.

    Online Research

    There are many ways to find opportunities to do good deeds via online research.Googgle phrases like “Participate in charity projects” or “Volunteer opportunities for students” to find many listings for information.You may also want to check out websites for Unicef and The Salvation Army to find volunteer opportunities.

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    Do Something!

    Collect Items for Domestic Violence Shelters

    At the holidays and all year round it is a wonderful project for students to collect donations for Domestic Violence shelters. Too many kids find themselves in a shelter over the holiday season and have very little chance of receiving a great meal or presents. Student volunteers can provide some holiday cheer for families in crisis by reaching out and gathering foods and goods for families in shelters.

    Hold Fund Raising Events for Crisis Events in America like Hurricanes

    Help students reach out to areas in crisis after a hurricane or other natural disaster. Hold fund drives or car washes or other events to raise funds and send donations to towns in crisis. Teach students the importance of reaching out to those in need who have suffered an unexpected tragedy.

    Create a Plan for a Project

    During class give students time to brainstorm ideas about a new community project. Have each student write a title for the project and make a list of action steps needed to activate the project.Include a tally of the number of volunteers needed to perform the project.Circulate the room while students are working to give feedback. Ask students to have a partner peer edit their project plan and give advice.

    Assessment

    Collect the student action plans and give grade for effort and for clarity of the ideas presented.Have students write a description of the good deed project after its completion and grade that essay as an extra credit grade.I give the extra credit grade rather than a regular class grade because it is unfair to expect every student to be able to do good deeds. They may have jobs or family obligations that preclude them from any other project.

    Volunteer work helps students build valuable career skills. While involved in volunteer work they also often make new friends and build self confidence. Have you had good success with leading student volunteer projects?