Schools encourage students to become involved in community service projects. Some high schools require their students to perform projects for graduation. The project is not as important as the student involvement, but some students may have a difficult time finding the community service project that is perfect for them. Because community involvement helps students on college applications, it is important for teachers to help their students locate a project.
Teachers willing to help students in their search for community projects must prepare themselves ahead of time. Make connections with local community officers that can provide the teachers with information about opportunities within their organizations. Government officials can also provide insights about opportunities. Knowledge is power when trying to guide a student toward a project that will meet the student’s needs as well as benefit an organization or project.
Lead your students to organizations capable of meeting their needs. Groups, like GenerationOn, offer ideas for both kids and teens. It also gives teachers e-training, via webinars, that assist the teacher in leading their students toward a community service attitude. Many communities, like Chicago, have organizations that offer excellent opportunities for the city’s young people. As teachers familiarize themselves with similar organizations within their city, leading students toward a project will be simple.
Use the Internet. Global or state-wide agencies have web sites that promote causes and projects that students use to find ideas. For example, sites like DoSomething.org, Volunteer Match, or Serve Net, provide ideas and areas of need for students. Projects listed on the sites involve more than one area. Students use the sites to help them find something local. The Internet offers possible funding for projects through sites like True Hero.
Asking students to consider a personalized project allows them to be in the driver’s seat. With teacher leadership, used as a support system, teachers help students to create their own projects. For example, a look at the needs not being met in the local community can lead to a discussion about possible solutions to the unmet needs. From the discussion, the student looks around at possible resources or support systems that would be useful. With the support of the teacher, the student draws up a plan, makes necessary contacts for support and permissions and then works to complete the plan.
The Environmental Protection Agency offers a website that offers ideas for students too. Students can visit Service Learning to check out what other students of various ages have done. It may help them find a project of their own.
Helping a student find a community service project isn’t rocket science. Using the available resources, teachers will find it easy to direct students in the right direction.