60 Ways to Better Your Community
Whether it's reconstructing a playground, visiting an elderly home, or clearing trash from a nearby creek, a community service project is an excellent way to bring about change on a small, intimate level. But before grabbing the work gloves, make sure that your project has a specific focus. Here are some ideas to help get the project started.
- Help people paint and repair their homes.
- Volunteer to clean up trash around a neighborhood.
- Create a mural that depicts values of your community.
- Set up an art exhibit at a local business, sell the creations, and use the money to fund a cause in your community.
- Collect supplies for persons who have been victims of a fire or other disaster.
- Plant a community garden.
- Organize a campaign to raise money for new playground equipment, or reconstruct the playground yourself.
- Share your skills! Volunteer to teach a class at a community center.
- When fall comes around, distribute leaf bags and offer to assist neighbors with raking their yards.
- Campaign for additional lighting along poorly lit streets.
- Volunteer at a Special Olympics event.
- Work with kids who have special needs on an art project.
- Set up a buddy system with the special needs program at your school.
- Raise money to purchase Braille books, large print books or other needed materials for the special needs program at a local school or community center.
- Make gifts with friends for kids in the hospital. Distribute Valentines, Halloween candy, or Christmas treats/toys.
- Build a ramp for a person in a wheelchair to make their house more accessible.
- Volunteer to read books or newspapers to those who are visually impaired.
- Visit a local care center to learn more about those with special needs, and ask how you can help.
- Recruit some friends or a class to help set up a library at a children's hospital.
- Create a pamphlet that includes helpful tips concerning the respect of and interaction with people who have special needs.
- Adopt a "grandfriend". Write them letters, call them, and visit often.
- Gather friends and create a "shop squad" to pick up groceries and medicine for elderly.
- Deliver meals to homebound individuals.
- Gather family and friends and organize a summer songfest or play to perform at a nursing home.
- For the holidays, go caroling, bring (easy-to-eat) treats, or just go and visit senior citizens.
- Offer to read to people.
- Provide your local nursing home or library with more large-print books.
- Teach a senior how to use a computer or the Internet.
- Call up elderly people who live alone to check if they need anything.
- Volunteer to do general home maintenance for a senior citizen.
Homeless and/or Hungry
- Help cook/serve meals at a homeless shelter.
- Throw a birthday party for children who are homeless at a local shelter.
- Organize a free, public nutrition awareness campaign.
- Gather combs, toothbrushes, shampoo, razors, etc. to make "I Care" kits for people who are homeless.
- Take children who are homeless on outings to a movie, zoo, or other fun location.
- Hold a book drive and donate the proceeds to the shelter, and then hold a read-a-thon or give a class on basic reading skills.
- Donate art supplies to the local shelter.
- Offer to repair or alter clothes for people who are homeless.
- Campaign to create a nursery in your local shelter, or help maintain an existing one.
- Always keep a few granola bars on hand!
- Volunteer at your local animal shelter.
- Gather newspapers and give to a local animal shelter.
- Learn about raising and training a pet to give to a disable person, and consider whether it is an option for you and your family.
- Visit and volunteer at a local aviary, zoo, or wild animal rehabilitation center.
- Organize a community dog wash, and donate the proceeds to organizations that aid animals.
- Locate homes and shelters for abandoned pets.
- Start a Chow Drive for the community to donate food and toys to a local shelter.
- Offer dog-walking services to those who can't (or won't) give their pets the proper amount of exercise.
- Take pictures or videos of pets that are in the pound and use them when organizing a supplies drive.
- Adopt a pet! Or, if this is not an option, volunteer to become a temporary foster parent for a pet in the pound.
- Clean up trash from a local outdoor space.
- Organize a hike or nature walk with friends, and bring bags to collect trash along the trails. Click here for an example sign up.
- Have fun with creating homemade paper out of used paper with friends (It's easy, fun, and green!)
- Grow your own vegetables, fruits, and herbs in an organic garden, and encourage others to do the same.
- Instead of using the car, choose the healthy route and bike to your next location. Burn energy, not gasoline!
- Choose a family "energy watchdog" to shut off lights, television, and dripping sinks when not in use.
- Switch your current Internet home page to an energy-saving one, such as Google's "Blackle", and turn down the computer screen brightness level as well. (It's unhealthy for both the environment and your eyes.)
- Create a children's nature garden. Create a path, label plants and trees, and schedule guided tours.
- Purchase recycled products as opposed to generic ones.
- When buying food or drinks of any kind, it is better to stick to a large jug or tub as opposed to a collection of individually packaged goods.
As you put on those work gloves, keep in mind that online sign up forms are an invaluable tool for organizing events and recruting and managing volunteers
. We appreciate your efforts to change the world, one step at a time!