Looking for a way to help? You don't have to look far. Sometimes you can find a need just across the street or around the block. Here's how ZOOMers like you are taking care of their neighborhoods:
- Holly, Sam, and Brady of Alaska pick up trash around their neighborhood.
- Brady of Maine donated some of his toys to a family who had a fire in their home.
- Celina, Isabel, Julia, and Rebecca of Massachusetts cleaned up a nearby playground. Then they had a bake sale so they could buy plants for the playground.
- Kaitlyn of Indiana had a book drive at her school. She collected over 200 books and gave them to the Salvation Army.
- Candice of Maryland made a brochure about bike safety for people in her neighborhood.
- Clean a bus stop or other public waiting area.
- Volunteer at a museum.
- Plant a community garden.
- Paint a mural on a building in your town. (Remember to ask for permission first!)
- Have a block party and get to know your neighbors. Bake food from CafeZOOM and play ZOOMgames.
Samantha of California wanted to help kids who have lost their homes in fires. So she started a penny drive at school and collected $300 in pennies! Then she bought 61 teddy bears and brought them to her fire department. The fire department gives the bears to kids to comfort them after a fire.
Here's how to start your own penny drive:
- Choose a way to help. Decide who you want to help with the money you raise. You can give the money directly to a charity. Or, you can do what Samantha did, and use the money to buy teddy bears for children who have lost their homes to fire. Ask an adult to help you call your local fire department and ask if they need teddy bears.
- Make a plan. Ask an adult to help out. How much money do you want to collect? Set a time line—will you collect pennies over a few days or several weeks? Where will you put your penny collection jars?
- Gather supplies. You'll need containers for collecting the pennies. Plastic jars and coffee cans with plastic lids work well. Make sure the collection jars aren't too big because pennies can weigh a lot. Just 1,800 pennies ($18) weigh ten pounds! You'll also need wrappers to roll the pennies in. You can get these at a bank.
- Get the word out. Post flyers that say when you're having the penny drive and where people can bring their pennies. Also explain how the money will be used.
- Start collecting. Make sure you put the penny collection jars in places that are easy for people to find. If the jars will stay out for more than a day, empty the pennies each day in a safe place. That way the jars won't "walk away"!
- Organize the pennies. When you're done collecting, count the pennies and put them in wrappers. Then ask an adult to help you bring the wrapped pennies to a bank where you can exchange them for dollar bills or a bank check.
- Share the wealth! Give the money directly to your charity or use the money to buy things that the charity needs.
- Think about it:
- Who did your project help?
- What did you see and hear during the project?
- How did this project make you feel?
- What did you learn that you did not know before?
- What new questions or ideas do you have?
- Is there anything you would do differently the next time?
- Celebrate! Announce the total amount of money you collected and thank everyone who helped you. And remember to log your hours and share your story.
- Keep helping. Donating money is one way to help. You can also donate your time. Find out if there are ways you can volunteer for the place where you gave your money. Or, think about other ways you can help, like making a brochure on fire safety and giving it to kids at school.
Welcome Home Heroes
Show your support for U.S. soldiers serving abroad by participating in POV's poster-making activity or by making a poster welcoming your own hometown heroes.
Just for Kids
Learn how to help animals in your neighborhood and at school.
The Mega Penny Project
Find out what one thousand, one million, and even one trillion pennies would look like if you stacked them up.
The Kid's Guide to Service Projects: Over 500 service ideas for young people who want to make a difference
By Barbara A. Lewis
Free Spirit Publishing
This book offers ten steps to successful service and many ideas on how to volunteer.
The Kids' Volunteering Book
By Arlene Erlbach
Lerner Publications Company
Meet dozens of kids who are volunteering, and learn how to start your own volunteer project.
Kids with Courage: True Stories about Young People Making a Difference
By Barbara Lewis
Free Spirit Publishing
Read about young people who are making a difference by volunteering.
By Sharon Dennis Wyeth
When a little girl searches in her neighborhood for "something beautiful," she finds that through her actions and sense of community, "something beautiful" can happen.
Call your Volunteer Center. This is a place that can help you find volunteer projects. To find a Volunteer Center near you, visit this Web site or call 1-800-VOLUNTEER. Ask an adult to help you call. Tell them your age and ask if there are ways that you can help in your neighborhood or town.