Service Projects for Middle Schoolers

Ideas for community-minded tweens

Sports team of children collecting for disaster victims
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One of the great things about raising a preteen is that they are at an age when they can take on more responsibility and even give back to their schools and communities. One of the ways tweens can contribute is through service projects. Some middle schools even require that their students give back by participating in community service projects either as a class or on their own.

By participating or volunteering, your child can learn leadership skills, a little about the community in which they live, and even a little about their own interests and passions.

They may also learn a little more about how organization and support groups operate and how challenging it can be at times to work through the proper channels to get the job done. In the end, however, it's very likely that your child will learn how satisfying it can be to help out and lend a hand.

If your child would like to tackle a service project. the ideas below might offer up a little inspiration.

Community Service and Middle School Students

  • Give Back to the School: It may not be your child's first choice, but chances are their school could use a little updating or benefit from a few improvements. The school principal might have a wish list of projects for the school, such as creating a butterfly garden, painting the girls' locker room, or cleaning out and painting the band closet. If your child's school can't use their services, a local elementary school or preschool might have just the service project waiting for them. Projects for a preschool or elementary might include holding a book drive, repairing playgroup equipment, or mentoring students after school in subjects such as reading or math.
  • Clean Up a Park: Your local park or nature trail has probably seen better days and could use a little sprucing up. Contact the park ranger or local parks and recreation director for permission and advice on what needs to be done. Trash pick up is always needed at popular destinations, but it's also possible that your child could work on clearing a trail, hanging bird houses, or making informative brochures for visitors to read.
  • Work an Event: There are numerous ways your child can help out at an event or fundraiser. If your tween has an interest in a specific cause, they could contact the local chapter and offer to help out at the next big event or fundraiser. Non-profit groups might use your child to check in runners for a marathon or 5K, or your child could end up selling food at a concession stand. Just make sure your tween picks an organization that they are truly interested in helping, and try to match their skills or talents with volunteer work possibilities.
  • Educate the Public: Service projects can include projects that educate the community about a local concern or need as well as the solutions or actions needed to tackle those concerns. Getting the word out about causes or public concerns isn't an easy service project to take on, but the work can truly prove beneficial in the end. For example, your child might decide to take on the issue of school bullying and ways to prevent or manage the situation. Other issues could include the encouragement of using local recycling programs or the benefits of eating locally grown produce and other foods.
  • Organize a Drive: If your child doesn't have an enormous amount of time to spend on a project, organizing a drive might be a good option for them. They could organize a book or toy drive for a local library or preschool, or maybe your tween could organize a drive for a specific group of individuals locally or elsewhere, such as after an earthquake, hurricane, or another event that requires relief efforts.
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  1. Institute for Volunteering Research. Review of Evidence on the

    Outcomes of Youth Volunteering, Social Action and Leadership. Published December 2014.