Plan a Community Project
Children for Children offers a number of planned activities and opportunities for Growing Involved, with a focus on providing books and other materials to schools and teachers in under-resourced communities.
CFC also encourages families and youth to Do Your Own Thing, and explore many other things you can do to make a difference in your community. Check out CFC's Kids for Community database to find out about some of the other areas of need. It may give you ideas about where you want to help.
Ways to Plan a Community Service Project
1. Think about your school, neighborhood and community. Are there things you would like to change?
- Does your school have everything it needs to help its students get a great education and be an asset to your neighborhood?
- Are the parks and sidewalks clean?
- Are there children or people who are hungry or in need of clothes, shelter, toys, etc.?
- Does your school have enough books and other materials? Are there other schools that don't have enough?
- Is there pollution? Does everyone recycle?
Make a list of the needs you see around you, and choose one that is especially important to you.
2. Brainstorm ways that you could help or solve that problem.
- Is there anything you can do to help?
- Would it be possible to organize a collection of essential items, such as food, toys, etc.?
- Can you come up with an idea for a fundraiser to raise money you can either donate or use to buy the items you'd like to donate?
Once you have a list of ideas, choose one as your project, and clearly state the objective(s) you hope to accomplish with your project.
3. Do a little research. Check Kids for Community again and ask around. Is there already an organization doing what you want to do? If so, you might be able to work with them or contribute to their organization in some way.
4. Create a list of the resources with our Service Planning Worksheet and plan your project budget with our Budgeting Page .
- How many people does your project require?
- Do you need money to start your project? How much? How can you raise the money or get a donation?
- Is space essential to your project? If so, what kind of space?
- What supplies will it take to accomplish this project? Is there a person or business willing to donate these items?
- How much time will it take to plan and carry out?
- Do you need to get permission? From whom?
5. Once you have a list of essential resources and a project budget, find the people that will make this project happen. Think about the people you know in your family, friends, school and community - can you inspire them with your idea, and do they have the skills necessary to help? What about your local elected officials or businesses? If other young people are helping, make sure they have permission from their parents.
6. Create a Project Task List of everything that must happen to set up for the project. You may want to brainstorm with your team. Two, three or four brains can be better than one, when you're trying to make sure you think of everything. Include ideas about where you might get supplies, money, volunteers and space.
7. Assign jobs to your team (keep in mind everyone's individual skills and interests). Be sure to set deadlines to ensure that everything happens on time!
8. As the project gets closer, check in with your team to make sure everything is happening on schedule.
9. Enjoy the project! And don't forget to thank volunteers for their time.
10. After the project is done, reflect with your team about what went well and what you'd change. Here are some questions to help you evaluate your experience:
- What did you expect from today's project? Did the day meet your expectations?
- Can you see the difference you made in your community? What did your project accomplish?
- Who benefited from your project? Is there a way to measure your success? (How much money was made, how many books donated, number of people/schools receiving materials, etc.)
- What was the best part of the day for you? Why?
- Did you have enough people helping? Too many?
- Is there anything you would do differently if you did this project again?
- Did anything surprise you? If so, what?
- Did you learn any skills during this project that you'll be able to use elsewhere?
- How do you feel about this experience?
- How can you continue to be involved in helping with this issue?
11. Good ideas:
- Keep a journal of your experience with your service project
- Take pictures or make a video of the project
- In addition to thanking volunteers on the day of the project, send written thank you cards to everyone who helped so they know their efforts were appreciated. If they realize how much of a difference they made, they might be more willing to help with your next project!
Print out these resources to help plan your community project:
- Service Planning Worksheet
- Budgeting Page
- Project Task List