Today's post is written by Becca Webster, program associate for content design at generationOn.
It’s a busy time of year—at home, in schools and in organizations across the country. Thankfully, it only takes a moment to engage youth in service and a moment more to double their impact.
For every young person caring, sharing and giving back to their community this holiday season, Hasbro will donate a toy to Toys for Tots—up to 100,000 toys. To be a Joy Maker, all you have to do is share how many young people are serving, what they’re doing and in what state. It’s that easy.
So how do you engage youth in service during the holidays?
Keep it simple and focus on the joy
Taking part in an easily repeatable act of service has big benefits for young people. They feel uplifted and empowered whether they help one person or 100. If all that joy is caused by a simple action, the action becomes a habit and a habit becomes a life of service.
Service in a moment,
Make it a Festive Community. Does your family string garlands of popcorn or make paper snowflakes? This year, make some extra festive ornaments and bring them to a senior center, homeless shelter or another place in your community that needs some cheer. This is a simple action that brings communities together and inspires young people to make service apart of their daily lives.
Make a few Giggle Books. This is something that can be done by any age student during class or during free time. Each student copies some funny-bone tested jokes into a handmade book. The books are then decorated with festive, cheerful images and messages and donated to a children’s hospital. Laughter, after all, is the best medicine.
At your organization:
Make some Happy Returns. There is a ton of waste created during the holidays. Stop recyclables from heading to the landfill and raise money for a worthy organization. Young people can decorate a recyclable collection box. Encourage everyone to deposit their bottles and cans in the box. Before you close for the holidays, tally up the returnables and announce how much money you’ve raised for your chosen recipient. This is also a great way to show that changing just one behavior (recycling instead of tossing) can make a big impact.
Get step-by-step instructions for these ideas and more.