Most of you know that I am a proponent of community service. I encourage my clients to volunteer, whether required by the court or not. There are many obvious benefits: skill building, meeting new people, and for those younger-- career exploration and resume/college application building. In addition, since my juvenile clients must do projects with an adult (due to age requirements), spending quality time with a parent boosts their self esteem. Lastly, volunteering helps us put our “first world” problems in perspective when we focus on others who are struggling to meet their basic needs.
As I was compiling a list of volunteer projects for the holiday season, I realized that these ideas would translate nicely for a small business looking to do a company project for the holidays. Or, even a group or team in a large company—just think how a little healthy competition amongst teams could help the greater good! So, here is a list of projects for “kids” of all ages. Since we all have busy schedules and I wanted to make it as easy as possible to coordinate a project, each of these projects can be done on your own time table and mostly at home.
1) Kits for Kids ( https://projectcure.org/programs/kits-kids) Sponsored by Project Cure, participants order kits online, then purchase and fill the kits with personal hygiene items which they ship to U.S. distribution centers that send them to developing countries. You have the ability to “track” your kit’s destination. This is a perfect, “done in a day,” (or even an hour) project that families can do at home. Or, a small business could incorporate this project into a holiday party, by setting up a station for bag-filling at your leisure.
2) Hero Box (http://www.herobox.org/sponsor/myhero/) This project allows participants to prepare custom care packages for deployed service members. Participants sign up online, and are matched with a service member and given their wish list. The website contains very detailed instructions. Similar to the above project, this can be done in a number of ways!
3) One Warm Coat (http://www.onewarmcoat.org/) This project give you all the tools to do a coat drive. I facilitated a neighborhood coat drive through OWC for the past several years and it was seamless. The website provides instructions, including signs and tax receipts. Again, this would work well for a family spearheading the drive in their neighborhood, or small business running a community drive.
4) Food Drive (http://www.acfb.org/food-fund-drives). Host a food drive for the Atlanta Community Food Bank. If you have not visited this amazing facility, I encourage you to check it out. Instructions are given on the website on how to host a personal or corporate food drive.
5) Making Placemats for Meals on Wheels (http://mealsonwheelsatlanta.org/). While this is not listed on the website, I have spoken to volunteer services and they welcome this idea! Get your creative juices flowing and design holiday placemats and cards. Or, order a kit (http://www.orientaltrading.com/web/search/searchMain?Ntt=placemat+kits). Once your masterpiece is done you can drop them off at their office (1705 Commerce Drive, NW, Atlanta, GA, 30318 on M-F 8-5 and Saturday 9-12).