April 15th serves as the 38th annual observation of National Volunteer Week. The week-long event was established as a way to inspire, recognize, and encourage people to become active in their communities. This celebration is centered around people who are working towards positive progress for the organizations and communities that mean the most to them.
Class Volunteer and Philanthropy Projects
Classroom volunteer or philanthropy projects are a fun way to develop empathy and appreciation. Some of my students’ favorite volunteer projects included:
- Lil Buddies: We would take a collection of stories with us to the kindergarten classrooms and donate our time reading to them. Extending on this mentoring, “bigs” also aided in craft projects and teaching new skills, such as tying a shoe.
- Local Library Clean-Up and Book Drives: Being fortunate enough to have a local library in walking distance, we participated in a number of volunteer efforts to keep the locale clean and well-stocked. My class participated in book restocking, dusting, and poster design for book drives.
Recognizing School Volunteers
Appreciating current volunteers is just as important as encouraging new volunteers. Oftentimes, there are a number of people at work, in our classrooms, and schools who are dedicated to volunteer work. This event presents a great time to show gratitude for all that school volunteers do on a daily basis.
- Create personalized cards to acknowledge those who serve. After making a card with specific and positive messages of appreciation, class members can decorate volunteer cards using varied art media.
- A "Volunteer Appreciation Assembly" calls grand attention to all volunteers. It also gives students and school leaders the chance to honor and acknowledge parent and community efforts within the school. Many schools carry out themed assemblies, such as “Volunteers Rock”, with musical-themed decorations and celebratory tunes.
- Medal of Honor: A spin on the classic acknowledgement of effort and service. Each person can choose a specific volunteer to honor, then create a medal from foil and construction paper. These can be presented in front of the class, followed by a round of applause.
Promoting Volunteer Activities for Families
There are a variety of ways for families to engage in community-volunteer efforts. Providing a flyer or bulletin with family-friendly volunteer activities can promote and facilitate volunteerism.
Volunteer Activity Ideas:
- Park, Beach, or Bike Trail Clean-up
- Water hand-out at local race
- Nursing home talent show or visitation
- Humane society dog walking
- Baking cookies for a local service organization such as firehouse or police station
- Book drive
- Decorate hospitals during the holidays
- Food drive
- Community Clean-up (graffiti removal)
- Serve food at a soup kitchen
- Join a fundraiser
- Volunteer at a hospital
- Habitat protection
- Stuffed Animal Drive
Educational Resources for Promoting National Volunteer Week:
Through active and engaging activities, the definition and benefits of volunteering are explored. The fun class examination of volunteer roles and benefits using shared ideas via sticky notes is sure to be a class favorite.
Simplicity can be beautiful. If you find joy in expression, you’re sure to find this clear and uncomplicated writing prompt worksheet appealing. After responding to the provided query about their experiences with volunteering, learners can flip over the sheet and draw a corresponding illustration.
Delve into the psyche of volunteer motivation. Budding journalists interview their peers who have volunteered. Through a thoughtful analysis of the responses, they draw conclusions about the key reasons people volunteer.