Kid Activities
1000's of Ideas for Childcare Professionals & Teachers!

Community Service: Middle and High School Kids

July 16, 2009 02:47 by Barbara Shelby


Page 3...

When looking for activities to do with older youth, hopefully Community Service will be at the top of the list!

Working together, kids learn to solve problems and make decisions and successfully contribute to their community. They connect local concerns with global issues and gain an awareness of others. All this will serve them now and years later as they transition out of school and into the adult world!




A VARIETY OF ACTIVITIES for older youth...

  • Set up a Help-O-Meter to keep track of the number of hours youth in your program volunteer.

  • Make a gift for the secretary of a non-profit organization.

  • Take photos during an event and donate them to the event organizers.

  • Design a campaign to promote tolerance and understanding of differences.

  • Volunteer at a health fair.

  • Volunteer as a counselor at local summer camp.

  • Volunteer to do office work at a local non-profit agency.

  • Volunteer to lead a club or share a talent by teaching a class for younger kids.

  • Run or walk in a charity race with friends.

  • Volunteer to help at charity auctions.

  • Take a life saving class.

  • Create a play that teaches young children how to stay safe at home.

  • If you're good at fixing bikes, volunteer to teach others how to fix their bikes.

  • Organize a drug free pledge campaign. CONSIDER ADAPTING THIS TO YOUR PROGRAMS...



Pet Therapy is a great project for brightening the day of nursing home residents who may not get much company. Set up a visit with your local nursing home and simply take your pets along for the residents to enjoy. It offers them some great company and a cuddly, affectionate cat, dog or other friendly animal to pet.


 What can Middle and High School youth do for Homeless Shelters?

  • Assist in a shelter day-care room - taking care of children while parents look for jobs. 
  • Make first aid kits for homeless shelters. 
  •  Set up a Saturday Reading Hour where you visit a homeless shelter once a month, bringing books to share and leave behind
  • Help cook and/or serve a meal at homeless shelter. 
  • Gather clothing from your neighbors and donate it to a local shelter. 
  • Make "I Care" kits with combs, toothbrushes, shampoo, etc. for homeless people. 
  • Make a care package with mittens, socks, T-shirts, etc. for a child at a homeless shelter. 
  • Clip coupons and give them at your local food pantry or homeless shelter. 
  • Pack and hand out food at a food bank. 
  • Organize a neighborhood group to plant, tend and harvest a vegetable garden; donate the produce to a food bank. 
  • Sponsor a food drive at your school or parent's workplace or business. 
  • Bake a batch of cookies and deliver them to a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. 
  • Raid your closet and attic to find toys and clothes to donate to a homeless shelter. 
  • Assist with sorting and organizing items donated to a homeless shelter. .....Assist in a shelter day-care room, taking care of children while parents look for jobs. 
  • Collect items to deliver to homeless shelters (blankets, sheets, towels, toys, books, disposable diapers.) 
  • Become a Big Buddy for one or more of the children at the homeless shelter.



Too old for child care and too young to work! When youth "age out" of a school-age care summer program, these 13-15 year olds may be left home alone for the long summer days. One win-win solution: create a YOUTH VOLUNTEER STAFF PROGRAM that offers a safe, familiar place where teens can offer assistance while working alongside their friends.

The AppleCorps program, a program for 13-15 year olds created by the Applewood Learning Center in New Hampshire, is profiled in the March/April 2008 issue of Exchange Magazine.

Created during a campaign to make the center more family friendly, teens volunteer in the program and parents/families pay a minimal fee to cover the cost of uniform shirts. Youth must complete a written application, attend an orientation session, meet with the Head Teachers and agree to be assigned to a classroom without their friends so that their primary focus is on the children. Teen responsibilities include reading to children, participating in activities, comforting upset children, preparing snacks, organizing library spaces and emptying recycling bins.

An office was created for the AppleCorps volunteers where they can take breaks and organize their work. Youth also participate in center-wide jobs in the afternoon so that they can "hang out" together.

Volunteer opportunities at the program have now expanded to include GrandApples for grandparents of enrolled children.
From schoolagenote of the day...May 12-08


Remember...ALL IDEAS IN THE Community Service Project Ideas for all Ages!  CATEGORY-- ARE GREAT FOR MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL!  Be sure to check it out!


 MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL: Ideas from 'Real Programs'

  1.) A Service-Learning Project Example: Mentoring/Tutoring

School is an introduction to the greater world in so many ways, including how to bridge age and cultural differences. One group of 7th and 8th graders collaborated with 1st graders in an ongoing, multi-faceted project to do just that.

Following a comprehensive training on communication, tutoring, and group work, the 7th and 8th graders began to work extensively with 1st graders in their district. The older students studied a variety of world cultures, then designed and facilitated presentations and activities for the younger students during such observations as Asian New Year, Cinco de Mayo, and Earth Day.

For their part, the 1st graders learned numbers and basic greetings in several languages and taught these to the older students. Both groups also participated in longer term efforts such as peer tutoring.

As they progressed through their project, all the students involved worked to develop and maintain a resource file. They stored copies of their research, activity plans, and contacts from which community members could draw. Adapted from Route to Reform: K-8 service-learning Curriculum Ideas, © 1994-95 National Youth Leadership Council.


A Service-Learning Project -Apropriate for Grades: 6 to 12
Took place in the State of Minnesota

Acceptance is key in the fight against HIV and AIDS. One group realized this after reading a book about pandemics and society's negative views of the infected. The students formed groups to determine ways of counteracting harassment within their school. The strategies they developed and executed included public service announcements, policy meetings with school officials, a proposal for "safe school guidelines," and a teach-in featuring music and poetry about tolerance among teens.

Post-service reflection included the students writing and conducting a survey to learn whether their efforts were effective.
Adapted from "The Complete Guide to Service-Learning," Copyright 2004 Cathryn Berger Kaye.


FREE OIL CHANGES...(This could be a project involving the entire school and facilitated by the out-of-school time program!)
Students of Delton-Kellogg High School (DKHS) in Michigan have been working together to serve their community---particularly the low-income residents, with needed car maintenance and free oil changes.


An estimated 300+ students were involved in this service-learning project to provide 50 free oil changes to those who might not otherwise be able to afford it. More experienced students from the auto-shop class paired up with first year students, under the supervision of the instructor to change oil, replace oil filters, top-off fluids and make referrals for any additional car maintenance.

 National Honor Society students  helped screen potential recipients and record the necessary information so appointments can be made. Other student volunteers were on hand to help entertain younger kids and keep them away from dangerous tools and chemicals.

Business class students helped in contacting local area businesses to solicit donated items such as car-care merchandise and food-related items that can be given to customers. Journalism students were involved in pre-event and post-event article writing and contact newspapers.


A Service-Learning Project
Appropriate  to Grade 12
Types of Project: Environmental
Took place in State of Michigan

A celebration of Earth Day became a sustained commitment to caring for a rainforest.
To better understand tropical plants and their connections with society, the youth did research in small groups, then drew or constructed models of plants, transforming their room into a model rain forest. During their research, the students discovered they could adopt acres of the real rain forest to help preserve it, and calculated how much money they needed to do this.

The students maintained their obligation to the environment in their fund-raising efforts. They created and presented, to parents and other classes, a program on dangers facing rain forests. They charged each person who attended an empty pop can, which they recycled for money to purchase sections of rain forest.

As a follow-up to their presentation, the students wrote, illustrated, and bound their own story books about rain forests. They donated the books to local doctors' offices, schools, and libraries so that the community could continue to learn about this important resource.

Adapted from "Route to Reform: K-8 service-learning Curriculum Ideas," © 1994-95 National Youth Leadership Council.


Grades: 6-8
Took Place in Massachusetts

This would be a great 'Service' activity for a classroom or middle school after-school project!

A middle school's formal student handbook didn't fully meet students' needs. Missing from the list of rules, regulations, and procedures was a STUDENT PERSPECTIVE on adjusting to a new school.

Seventh graders felt that incoming students needed a kid-friendly handbook, written in easy-to-understand language, to supplement the formal handbook. They used the formal handbook as a resource to ensure the accuracy of essential information and designed a brainstorming exercise to determine which additional topics they would offer in the student-generated version.

Students self-selected their roles as writers, typists, artists, interviewers, organizers, layout designers, and investigators. They took their responsibilities seriously, and demonstrated their commitment to the project by sharing and helping each other to achieve the common goal of a kid-friendly handbook.

The student-generated handbook addresses new-student concerns such as which bathrooms to use, what's "cool" and what's not, and how to fit in. The guidance department now distributes it to all incoming students.

Adapted from "Community Lessons: Integrating Service-Learning Into K-12 Curriculum," 2001, Massachusetts Department of Education, Massachusetts Service Alliance, and Learn and Serve America.



At the time of this writing, youth from bay area schools in Valrico, Florida have gathered for four years  to bring awareness to the plight of homeless youth. Around 50 young people are estimated to participate in the 24-hour homeless simulation where they will sleep in cardboard boxes and also assemble backpacks and food packs to be donated for youth who are homeless.

Participating youth learn about issues surrounding homelessness and use banners and posters to share that information with passing cars and visitors to their "cardboard" shelters. This event is organized by all youth and is open to all youth.


A Service-Learning Project
Grades: 6 and up.... 

Types of Project: Public Art, Community Building/Development
Took place in Michigan 

Though their playground was filled slides, swings, and jungle gyms, 6th-grade students felt something important was missing: picnic tables. There was no place outside for students to relax and talk, eat their snacks, or play board games. 

In art class, the students drew a map of their playground and considered places to put picnic tables. They studied various types of trees in science class and chose the best wood for outdoor tables. The students then raised money to buy materials, recording and graphing their fund-raising progress until they had enough for four tables. 

Adults ran the power tools, but the students led every other part of construction, from writing, reading, and understanding instructions to measuring and hauling wooden planks. They maintained the tables for the rest of the academic year, and passed this responsibility on to the next group of students, solidifying long-lasting student involvement. 

In a relatively short time, these youths provided their school with a tangible contribution that would not only benefit them but future students for years to come. 

Adapted from "Route to Reform: K-8 service-learning Curriculum Ideas,":1994-95 National Youth Leadership Council. 



CHECK OUT THE "NO-CUSSING" CLUB! Yes, this can be considered a community service! Have you ever walked behind a group of kids-where every other word was a four letter word? Just a nice thing to do...



Page 1,  2, 3, 4, 5

You may also be interested in...


Community Service and Youth Examples

July 15, 2009 03:03 by Barbara Shelby

  Page 4

REALLY PROUD OF OUR KIDS! (What one Oregon program accomplished!)

Thanks to the ideas on this website, these are some of the things we've done this year!

 1. We had an OLD EYE-GLASS COLLECTION and took them to the local eye clinic (They were happy for the donations) We collected 250 pairs!

2.  We've gotten to know the ELDERLY in our neighborhood by "adopting" a few. Our senior neighbors have visited once a month since October. We make cookies and brownies the day before, and then play cards and games. (This is a Middle school program) We've gotten to know them as friends...the local paper came and did a "human interest" story on this.

3. In November we recognized "WORLD KINDNESS WEEK" and did a couple things that are in the Kindness Category.

4. In December we collected personal items for a homeless shelter and "ADOPTED A FAMILY". The father died with no insurance; Mom was left with five young children. We put together a great food basket and toys for them and will also do Easter baskets.

5. We DESIGN MONTHLY WORD SEARCH GAMES  for the grade school program down the block. We've been doing that since November.

6. April with EARTH DAY--we cleaned up the grounds of the school and collect coins for the Rain forest.

7. In May, we "ADOPTED FIFTH GRADERS" to make their transition to middle school easier. We went there once a week for that month--

8. The end of May, we met  on a Saturday and held a "pledged walk" to raise money for the LOCAL ANIMAL SHELTER...

It was the best year we ever had! The kids were constantly busy with all their community projects--as well as doing all the fun things that all kids like to do! At this time, we've decided to continue the "word-search" and "Senior visits" for continueing school years!
The Supervisor of our program, who loves everything we are doing, has come in and given the kids some guidelines and ways to get the best results in volunteering at the grade school program. (To make it a good experience for all! ) Thanks for all the ideas to work with
! Penguin and Gang in Oregon!

Thank you Penguin! It sounds like you had a great year, great kids, and a fantastic program! Barb Shelby



Students at YMCA school-age child care centers in Cupertino and Sunnyvale, California, are collecting new and gently used jackets for children whose families cannot afford winter jackets...


In Monessen, Pennsylvania, afterschool programs at the Mon Valley YMCA and the Lemoyne Center will benefit from "Carol for a Cause," a fundraising effort started years ago by local residents who sang Christmas carols to passer-bys at Salvation Army collection areas. The volunteers found that singing carols increased the amount of the donations...


In Pocatello, Idaho, students in the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program started early and reached out to a unique service group. Four programs partnered with the Pocatello Kennel Club to provide holiday goodies for Operation Military Care K-9...


In Missoula, Montana, the Flagship afterschool program is quickly becoming a key contributor to the city's annual New Year's Eve alcohol-free celebration, "First Night Missoula.”...


Chickens, ducks and pot-bellied pigs have been among the guests at Catalina Foothills area afterschool programs, reports the Arizona Daily Star. The visits are sponsored by the Therapeutic Ranch for Animals and Kids afterschool program which strives to educate children about therapy animals so they can eventually accompany the animals to hospitals, homeless shelters and other sites...


Bountiful fall leaves were no match for the youngsters at the Partnership Park After-School Program in Jackson. Although jumping in leaf piles was part of the fun, the main activity for students was their cleaning a Jackson neighborhood to help older residents by raking their leaves...


The "Bright Futures After School Service-Learning Club" from Lincoln Elementary School in Michigan, built and facilitate an outdoor classroom event...

They facilitated activities at stations, which include meteorology, flower beds, composting and bird feeders. Youth led lessons on comparing weather data using tools such as a thermometer and rain gauge; planting flowers and seedlings; measuring soil and water-- and caring for bird life.


Puppets are coming to life through the creativity and inspiration of Allentown's youth, reports the Morning Call. Children in the Welcome to Our Family afterschool program at Fountain Hill Elementary are taking part in a puppeteer project designed to prevent child abuse by promoting strong families...



Grades: Prekindergarten--8
Type of Project: Poverty/Hunger, Community Building/Development

This project started as a simple assessment of interviewing skills. Kindergarten through 6th-grade students invited a representative from a local food pantry to speak to them. They prepared questions for the meeting and reviewed active listening. But as the speaker explained that many people in the community were hungry and described the pantry's efforts to alleviate this problem, the students were moved to organize a food drive.

Youth prepared for their work by researching issues of hunger, homelessness, and poverty, learning the history of their community, and understanding citizenship as it relates to their role in helping the community. They learned about healthy foods and the affects of hunger on the body.

The students then translated their knowledge into colorful flyers and a letter explaining their food drive. Working in small groups, they studied a map of the neighborhood and plotted a course to distribute the information to households near their school. On collection day, they returned to these houses and picked up donated food. They used math skills to count, sort, weigh, compare, and chart the items. Adapted from "Route to Reform: K-8 service-learning Curriculum Ideas," © 1994-95 National Youth Leadership Council.


One Idea from a Girl Scout Troop--that would work for a SAC Service Club!

One of my favorite ideas is to have a community service theme that you follow for a period of time; we tend to focus on a theme for a year. One year we ADOPTED AN AIR FORCE TEAM that was on active duty in Iraq. We showered Valentines, care packages, letters, and Girl Scout cookies on the men and women who were serving our country.

To make this project meaningful, we tried to personalize the team for the girls. We put together a small packet that "explained Iraq" at their level. In that packet was a letter from my former classmate explaining what they were doing in Iraq and describing their living conditions. We also included a map of the country showing where they were stationed and a summary of the conflict in "kid terms." To create this, the Scholastic News site was extremely helpful. We also sent and received pictures back and forth, which put a face on the girls for the service men and women and vice versa.

Another year, our focus was helping families in a shelter trying to get back on their feet


We chose that particular shelter because it housed children, which we felt would have a greater impact on the girls. The girls kicked off their service to this shelter by serving Thanksgiving dinner. In two short hours the girls had "met" all the families and formulated a week's worth of questions. We returned throughout the year to spend time in the shelter's preschool playing with the kids, donating books to the school's library, and to bring cases of our trademark cookies.
By Diana Laulainen-Schein To see article- click here 

Page 1,  2, 3, 4, 5

Return to top of page


You may also be interested in the following...