PROJECT IDEASEncourage students to identify community needs and develop projects that will address those needs. Give students time and professional support to foster their own involvement, creativity, and decision-making. Please go beyond donating money. The experience of helping someone will be more meaningful and memorable than bringing spare change from home. Encourage collaborations between classes, clubs, and schools within districts and even between school districts. Collaborate with community organizations or government agencies.
· Older students and adults could take “at risk” youth to visit an adolescent drug treatment program. Host a talent show where students present their talents, poems, songs or essays in relation to the drug prevention theme. Charge a minimal entrance fee to be donated to a health-related charity. Kids create slogans and pictures about promoting healthy lifestyles. Students can make buttons and wear them to promote their message. Start or connect with Safe Rides, MADD or SADD programs. Develop ways to promote CPR in your community. Create posters or banners to promote healthy living and warn about the hazards of smoking. Have students include personal messages as to how cigarette smoking has negatively affected them. Send these to tobacco companies. Arrange a concert or play to be performed at a local hospital. Create T-shirts, posters or performances to help provide awareness about the dangers of HIV/AIDS. Educate students on good nutrition and begin a nutrition campaign within your school. Have students share what they’ve learned with other classes. Create a “get well soon” toy drive for sick children in pediatric units. Set up a Locks of Love program , Organize blood, bone marrow drives.
Help for Hungry, Homeless, and Less Fortunate
Help cook and/or serve a meal at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Donate books, bookcase or computers to a shelter. Prepare a care package. Pack and hand out food at a food bank. If your community doesn’t have one, work with local officials to set up one. Prepare a cookbook of recipes using basic, nutritious, cost efficient ingredients. Start a food drive. It can run for the entire school year, holidays or selected months. Ask for a food item to be the admission ticket to a community or school event.
Immigrant Outreach and Cultural Diversity
Tutor English as a Second Language (ESL) students in academics, study skills and social skills. Become someone’s special mentor. Teach English to immigrant parents. Ask other students to babysit their younger children while they learn. While playing, teach them English as well. Celebrate other cultures through “Share Your Heritage Day”. Send home cassette recordings of English to Spanish (or other languages) to non-English speaking families. Try to provide tape players to immigrant families.
Literacy, Mentoring and Tutoring
Begin a high school program mentoring middle school students about the transition into high school. Design storybooks, alphabet place mats and donate them to younger children. Create “touch” books for visually impaired students. Start a book drive and donate the proceeds to a school in a needy area. Have students help younger children learn how to read. Create a “Big Brother”, “Big Sister” program within your district. Start a tutoring program to help younger students with their class/homework and their lives. Start a book club and invite senior citizens to join and help students with their literary selections.
Beautify community centers, local housing projects or pocket parks through landscaping and gardening. Plan ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. (Transform old jeans/clothing into useful products.) Create a newspaper advertisement encouraging environmental conservation and ask local newspapers to run it. (air, water, soil, noise pollution) Contact NYS Department of Environmental Conservation or other organizations to request free trees or assistance in designing programs to prevent beach erosion or enhance environment. Clean up local beaches, parks and streams. Paint over graffiti and/or create murals in downtrodden areas. Work with the local departments of health or water conservation to test the quality of water in local streams, lakes, rivers or bays.
Adopt a “grandparent” or “grandfriend”. Write her a letter, or write letters, make phone calls for her. Offer to shop or run errands for/with an elderly or disabled person. Deliver home-cooked meals to homebound individuals. Obtain and install locks or smoke alarms for elderly or disabled residents. Make personal cards, give hats/caps and toiletries. Develop a program to invite seniors to your school and teach them how to use a computer, surf the net and send e-mail. Organize your friends or classmates to present a play at a senior residence or invite seniors to your school to watch the dress rehearsal of this year’s play. Host a holiday luncheon or concert on Veterans Day. Create valentines for veterans. Offer to bundle newspapers, bottles and cans for recycling and put them out on the eve of recycling day. Bring veterans into school and offer them the opportunity to share stories from when they served our county. Plan a way to show your thanks for all they have done. Spruce up the veteran’s memorial or plant peace gardens nearby. Visit nursing home residents frequently, enough to develop relationships. Plan and stage an afternoon dance or party for your local nursing home/senior center. Teach each other your favorite dances.
Violence Prevention and Mediation
· Students create skits or songs about violence prevention and how to resolve problems peacefully. Perform for other students or the community. Students create slogans on violence prevention, such as, “Be Bright. Don’t Fight.” Create T-shirts, posters or bumper stickers. Create a “Project Peace”/ anti-bullying program in which students conduct violence prevention and tolerance workshops. Students learn peer mediation and then become mediators for other students involved in disputes. Design a “peace place” in the classroom where students can go to reflect on their feelings rather than act upon them.
support For Our Service People
Join with other organizations to sponsor a dance. Collect supplies/care packages as an admission fee. Collect personal hygiene products and letters of support to soldiers thanking them for their service. Start a drive for phone cards and old cell phones to provide a way for troops to keep in touch with their families.
Random Acts of Kindness
Start a “Pay it Forward” campaign and collect Clothing, toys, books and household items to donate. Participate in a swim or walk-a-thon to aid local charities. Collect old or used computers to donate to underprivileged schools and homeless shelters. Have class create inspirational illustrations to present to people in a day care facility or nursery school. Create artwork to sell; donate proceeds to help in the restoration of a local statue or monument. Send greeting or holiday cards to homebound or handicapped individuals throughout the year. Set up Personalized care packages for foster children. Host a volunteer fair to help students get involved with community organizations. Organize a dinner and gift giving session to benefit single mothers and their children during the holidays. Sell “Hugs-and-Kisses Grams” or “Flower-grams” and use proceeds to purchase wheelchairs for disabled individuals who cannot afford them.