what did your children choose?
dd is not inspired to come up with an idea.
she doesnt like the stuff i am involved in.
i am struggling to find anything for 11 year olds. her choices are limited as most places wont allow till they are 12 or 13.
what did your children do? or any ideas?
DD did all of her service through Girl Scouts in the middle school years. There were all sorts of different project from making dog biscuits for the animal shelter to packing boxes at the food bank. DS (my current middle schooler) just tags along on my community service. I'm a sub driver for Meals of Wheels. He does some performing with this theatre group and with his band for local charity fundraisers and such. Otherwise, not too much.
You are right, unless they are part of a group like scouts or a school club, it can be difficult for them to have their own service opportunities at this age.
Is it a true volunteer experience (i.e. voluntary because she wants to help or wants to gain some experience) or is it to fulfill a school requirement?
If it is to fulfill a school requirement, IME the school will have a list of activities with various organizations. Check with the teacher or the guidance counsellor. It isn't really fair to insist on community service credits without providing access to some opportunities.
If she has special interests, she may want to leverage them into some community service activities. I think those are the most successful experiences for everyone involved. My dc have done things like playing music at charity events, helping with younger students, peer tutoring, working on community clean ups for Earth Day, planting trees, taking part in wildlife/parkland surveys and so on. I'll try to remember the other stuff they've done, but I'm just getting called away, so I'm going to post this and come back.....
olly the answer is both.
the one she came up with was the animal shelter because she likes animals. however they will only give her simple jobs where a parent has to be present. like cleaning out cages.
however she wants an active part in people communication. perhaps high expectations?!!!
she is involved with what i do but its not her thing. yet elements of what i do is so up her alley. taking veggies over to the food shelter and showing people how to cook them. selling veggies at the farmers market and telling people how to cook them or even what teh veggies are. things like that.
she knows an aweful lot about food and nutrition but its not her thing. though i have a sneaking suspicion she wants to do something on her own without her mother's presence there.
so we have to figure out a way to come to a compromise.
some of her other interests are too academic, and she finds the museum folks there boring. again i was involved there too.
so i think she wants to try out something new.
perhaps the question would be what would she like to do. meaning what kind of task. hmmm perhaps i need to research this further.
We live in a small village that is rich in community service opportunities, since we're not big enough to have things institutionalized. My 10-year-old has had tons of community service experience.
She sets up and cleans up the community hall for various events.
She helps sell popcorn at movie night, to support the event.
She hands out programs and watches over the donation basket at musical performances.
She sets up classrooms for summer music, dance and art workshops.
She helps weed the community gardens and the school garden through the summer.
She helps the instructors at the music-for-young-children camp that runs through the summer.
She volunteers with the local preschool and with Family Gym Night, helping some of the younger children.
She litter-picks along the highway and trails.
She bakes cookies and muffins for all sorts of community events and receptions.
... among other things that come up as one-off opportunities.
Not sure if anything like that is realistic in your community. One of the things that my kids have learned early is that community service isn't necessarily glamourous. There's a lot of emptying garbage cans and stacking chairs and sorting empty soda bottles. Participating in that stuff helps them appreciate all the behind-the-scenes work that others do. And it puts them shoulder to shoulder with a lot of hard-working altruistic people with interests and passions and expertise to share.
Mountain mama to two great kids and two great grown-ups