Summer of Service

by: Lia Haile

Most kids have incredibly busy schedules during the school year. Between homework, sports, after school activities and family commitments, it can be hard to find any free time. During the summer, however, things slow down. You may even find yourself a little bored and wondering what to do.

This is why summer is the perfect time to volunteer your time and talents to help others. Your extra free time could make a huge difference in the lives of disadvantaged kids and families in your community.

So what can you do? While you probably rely on your parents for transportation, there are plenty of things you can do right from home to benefit others. Make sure to check with your parents before you get started, but here are some ideas to help you plan your volunteering project for the summer.

One of my favorite summer activities is setting up a lemonade stand in my driveway. It’s one of the easiest ways to collect extra change for your favorite charity. Don’t forget to make signs letting your neighbors know where the money is going. Most people are extra generous when they know you are working for a great cause. So, set up a table, grab some disposable cups, make a pitcher of your favorite lemonade, and start selling!

Summer is also the perfect time to go through your old toys, clothes, and books. Pick out the stuff you don’t want or need any longer and bag it up. Most people are surprised at all the things they find when they are going through drawers and closets. If your family is willing, have a rummage or garage sale and donate the profits to charity. If you don’t want to sell your things, you can easily donate them to a non-profit organization that takes gently used items.

Do you like to bake? Summer is a great time to make your favorite sweet treats. Instead of making a dozen cupcakes, consider making more and donating them to a homeless shelter. You may be surprised to learn that there are many families living in shelters over the summer months. Your donated treats could really brighten their day and bring a smile to kids living in a tough situation.

These are just a few ideas, but the important thing to remember about volunteering is to focus on what you are passionate about. Everyone has hobbies, talents, and abilities that make them unique. Use your special gifts to make a difference in your community. Just have fun and follow your heart. There are so many wonderful summer volunteer opportunities just waiting to be explored.

Remember, if you help just one person, you have changed the world.

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