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Kids Make a Difference

Gordon West

  • Volunteer to read. Libraries and schools are always looking for volunteer readers. Offer to staff your public library's reading hour with families from your church, or encourage kids to help younger readers at their schools outside regular classes.
  • Start a Chronicles of Narnia Club. Draw families into your church by hosting a family reading night. Let younger children "host" while older kids read. With the recent interest in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, this is the perfect story to use to kick-start a new outreach.
  • Be a good neighbor. Older kids can help neighbors by weeding, mowing, painting, house-sitting, or pet-sitting. Preschoolers enjoy leaving flowers or handmade cards on doorsteps.
  • Give something special. Encourage families to clean closets by giving gently used clothing and toys directly to less fortunate families or organizations supporting families in need.

Service Across the Country

As children get older, they gain more understanding of needs outside their communities. Elementary and preteen kids love to get involved with national projects.

  • Stuff Envelopes -- Most nonprofit organizations or church denominations have regular mailings requiring hours of stuffing and labeling. Ask your church or favorite charity about their needs.
  • Pray for States -- Pick one location each month and have kids pray for the people living there and those who need to hear about Jesus. Share stories from missionaries your church supports in the regions you choose.
  • Help in Hardship -- Kids hear about needs within our country and want to help. When natural disasters occur, kids and families can get involved with well-known national relief agencies such as these.

American Red Cross (www.redcross.org) has a number of ways kids and families can gather funds or needed items during national crises. Contact your local chapter for more details.

Salvation Army (www.salvationarmy.org) has many ways for families with younger children to serve, including serving holiday meals, ministry to the homebound, clothing drives, bell ringing, and special needs at times of national disaster. Check with your local chapter to see how your kids can serve.

Celebrate your kids' service on National & Global Youth Service Day. Youth Service America sponsors this day to focus on youth involvement in lifelong service.

Service Around the World

The world is a big place, but children better understand their impact when service projects are tangible and practical. Kids' vision and comprehension of the world expands when we involve them in hands-on, meaningful projects.

  • Prayer Aware -- When kids pray for other children, they make a deeper connection to those in need. Have kids choose a world region to learn about and pray for the children there regularly.
  • Special Operations -- Samaritan's Purse's Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes have children gather and send practical items such as school supplies and toys to kids around the world.

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