Oct 19, 2011

20 Ways to ‘Make a Difference’ in Your Community

The HandsOn Network, the volunteer arm of the Points of Light Institute, recently published a list of 65 easy ways for kids to “make a difference.” The suggestions represent good jumping-off points for high school students who have never volunteered or who are unsure of how to get started.

It’s no secret that colleges care about what you can bring to their campus communities. And one gauge is what you routinely bring to your immediate communities—school and neighborhood.

But service shouldn’t just be something you do for credit or to impress admissions staff. It should come from your heart and eventually become a cornerstone of your life.

Here are 20 of my favorite ways kids can make a difference from the HandsOn Network:

  1. Seniors love your artwork! Brighten walls—and smiles—at the local senior center.

  2. Gather up outgrown, gently worn shoes and clothes for your local Salvation Army, Goodwill, church or synagogue.

  3. Neglected stuffies in your room? Little kids at shelters are aching to cuddle them.

  4. Like a challenge? Your game board skills are in demand at the senior center.

  5. Dust off your old—but still good—books and give them to a school library

  6. Get a haircut! And give your ponytail to Locks of Love.

  7. Got old sports equipment? Bring it to your local Parks & Rec!

  8. Your town doesn’t recycle? Yikes! Create a program now!

  9. Buzz your town selectmen for more neighborhood trashcans and recycling bins.

  10. Learn how to donate/recycle old computer stuff & post instructions (with permission) at your local electronics store. Better yet, start a program at your school.

  11. Whip up your favorite yummy snack and present it to a soup kitchen!

  12. Love history? Visit folks at the senior center and ask about the amazing things they’ve witnessed.

  13. Seeking positive change? Ask your local government officials for help.

  14. Have an older neighbor? Rake their leaves or shovel their sidewalk!

  15. Make soldiers smile…send letters & goodies!

  16. Get fit and have fun…start a neighborhood exercise group.

  17. Share a home cooked meal—and cheerful chat—with a homebound person.

  18. Got a big idea? Launch it with a community event!

  19. Active voters make our country great. Ensure adults in your life are registered!

  20. Brighten the world…smile often!

For the complete list, visit the HandsOn Network Blog.

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