SPRINKLE KINDNESS THROUGH YOUR HOLIDAY SEASON
Service Ideas for Winter
Between batches of holiday cookies and marching through your gift list, slip in a few hours for a family volunteer project. These simple ideas will help connect your family with the needs in your community, and provide a chance for your children to give as well as receive this holiday season.
1. Sponsor A Child Or A Family:
"Adopting” a disadvantaged child or family at holiday time can inspire a sense of giving in your children. Many families have a tradition of sponsoring a local family for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner and gift giving. Social service agencies can match you with a family in need and suggest what gifts they would appreciate – usually basics like hats, mittens, socks, underwear and blankets. And, of course, toys.
2. Handmade Holiday Cards:
These are always a day brightener. Donate your creations to a local nursing home, Meals on Wheels program (mealsonwheelsamerica.org) or veteran’s hospital. Or send them to a service member or a child with life threatening disease.
3. Get Warmed Up:
A popular project is making blankets by tying the ends – no sewing required! Even youngsters can pitch in. Instructions for a simple no-sew fleece blanket and donation information can be found here http://www.doinggoodtogether.org/bhf/make-no-sew-blankets/
4. Trunk or Treat for A Cause:
Decorate your car and hold a Halloween trunk or treat party at a park. Hold games and competitions at the party; make guests vote by donating a dollar to the best home made goody treats or best costume etc. The person with most votes (dollars) collected is the winner. Donate all the money to a good cause.
5. Join a Toy Drive:
Pick out a toy for a child in need, then deposit your gift (unwrapped) at a convenient Toys for Tots location. It’s simple, doesn’t cost much and helps spark the spirit of giving in your brood.
6. Party Heart-y:
For your holiday party, ask guests to bring a nonperishable food item, new or gently used book or toy, pair of socks or mittens, or other essential you can donate to a local charity.
7. Cause a Stir:
Bake some treats to donate to a lonely neighbor, a food shelf or a group that serves the homeless or elderly. For ideas and inspiration, check out Spread The Bread (www.spreadthebread.org), a great organization that encourages everyone to “bake a difference.”
8. Load A Shoebox:
Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse (http://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child) invites folks to pack a shoebox full of goodies (toys, school supplies, hygiene items) for children in developing countries. Have your children add a note and a photo of your family. You can even adopt this concept and load a shoebox full of toys, goodies and other useful items and distribute them to families in need.
9. Give Gifts That Give Back:
A Charity gift card is a unique gift. It allows the gift giver to make a charitable donation and the gift recipient selects which of several charitable organizations receives the monetary value associated with the gift card.
Charity gift cards (charitygiftcards.com) provide a form of non-material gift-giving which is becoming increasingly popular. A charity gift card is given by an individual or an organization to another individual or organization in lieu of a material gift, such as a candle or basket of food. This website was created to help people with their questions about charity gift cards, how they work, and how the various providers compare.
Charity gift cards from Just Give* is a great way to gift someone and also support a charity of interest.
"My Summer Resolution, What's Yours?"
The Summer Program
Education, good upbringing, development of character and moral and ethical values begins at home. Take out time this summer to spend it with your child. Start at home, share the experience with other kids and make it a collective effort!
1. DIY indoor Summer Camp (2-3 hr activity, twice/thrice a week):
Have kids of your own, involve kids in the neighbor, school, family etc. Do fun activities like board games, quizzes, educational competitions, maintaining a scrap book, movies at home, arts and crafts, improve reading and writing skills, inculcate ethical values by discussion.
2. Volunteer at the local library :
Find out what activities for children are available at your local library. Volunteer to create one. Reading out aloud not only develops language skills of a child, it improves pronunciation and increases the attention and concentration span of the child. Take your child to a library, create a library at home. Limit his TV and other electronic device exposure.
3. Create a book club:
Select a book every week, appropriate for the age, let the children read it and do a discussion on it. Develop reading and comprehension skills along with love for books. Ask questions, explain ideas and have fun at the same time.
4. Learn and teach a skill/hobby:
Share your own expertise. Engage children in positive and constructive activities. You do not have to spend a lot of money to enroll yourself or your children in programs that teach skills. In todays world, everything is available online.
makezine.com* is a perfect example of one, you may find more.
Projects by category include :
1) Electronics, computers, mobile, robotics, arduino, raspberry pi
2) Workshop, 3-D printing, machining, woodworking
3) Craft, crochet, knitting, sewing, paper craft
4) Science, health, energy
5) Home, cooking, fun and games, gardening, kids and family
6) Art & Design music, photography, video
You can not only learn from this website but also upload your own videos and skills so that others can learn.
5. Create an indoor gym:
A lot of you-tube videos on warm up exercises, zumba, aerobics and yoga for beginners are available online. Gather up your friends, hang out in your own backyard and do some moving and grooving! Healthy for yourself, healthy for others!
6. Elderly and the homeless:
Reach out to elderly care institutions, hospice and shelters for the homeless. Do you know the condition of one in your city and how the residents are surviving? Have you ever wondered how you could help? Do you just want other people to run it the way they already are, with limited resources? Well, this is the time. Go, find out. Volunteer, provide free food and drinks, read a book, share a story, be a friend.
7. Skip a Meal
Skip a meal and feed a poor. Involve your company and co-workers in your food drive. Spread the warmth.
Taking initiatives is the key, a collective effort makes it fun and reporting service hours at the end of the month completes the feel of accomplishment. That's what Cyber Kiwanis is all about!
THE FALL FEVER
"Helping Your Schools"
It's September already! The time when the rhythms of the school year have started to settle in, and people are beginning to think about the Thanksgiving break. Before you find yourself too busy or distracted to commit to a cause, keep your eyes open for school-related volunteer opportunities near you.
Here are a few things we have charted down for you to do.
1. Back Pack Drives:
Many schools and organizations carry out back pack drives in every neighborhood. You can contribute by donating school supplies such as books, stationary items, clothes for children in need as well as your time by tutoring, helping in home work, mentoring and reading to children which is much needed. Volunteering at book fairs and back to school fundraising events is also a great way to support.
Kiwanis is also proud to partner with Scholastic*, organization that supports children’s access to books and lifelong love of reading. Thanks to their partnership*, Kiwanis clubs get crucial resources for helping children in their communities getting access to books and reading opportunities, regardless of their socioeconomic status.
2. Play Works:
"In order to make a positive change in our schools and communities, we must put ourselves in kids’ shoes and identify with students." CEO Jill
Play Works* believes in creating options for children to engage in healthy, inclusive play representing an important opportunity for learning to deal with both winning and losing with grace. In the Playworks Playbook* you will find:
a) A recess checklist and toolkit to make the playground in your community great.
b) Stories from other play advocates’ experiences on the playground.
c) Hundreds of games and activities to play with the kids in your community.
d) Studies and policy statements that demonstrate the value of play and recess for all kids.
So put on your sneakers and a smile, it’s time to recall your childhood and play like a kid!
3. The Dictionary Project:
The goal of this program is to assist all students in becoming good writers, active readers, creative thinkers, and resourceful learners by providing them with their own personal dictionary. The dictionaries* are a gift to each student to use at school and at home for years to come. Educators see third grade as the dividing line between learning to read and reading to learn, so they encourage their sponsors to give dictionaries each year to children in the third grade.
With the support of local sponsors and volunteers, they want to provide a dictionary to every student in the United States. In this way they hope to help them to improve their communication skills and make the most of their education.
4. Kiwanis Kids "Bring Up Grades" Program :
Bring Up the Grades or BUG* is a program designed to provide recognition to students who raise their grades into an acceptable range and maintain or continue to raise them from one grading period to the next. Recognition includes being placed on the school’s BUG Honor Roll; a pizza, ice cream or other food-themed party; and presentation of certificates and buttons.
Students* are empowered to participate in their own academic success, which builds self-confidence, perseverance and character. They attain important life skills known as developmental assets, that help them make smart choices. According to the Search Institute, an organization focused on helping youth succeed, the more developmental assets a student attains the less likely he or she is to participate in risky behavior and the more likely he or she is to succeed. Students also develop important social and emotional skills.
A Super BUG is someone who takes the time to help other class members improve in their studies and raise their grades.
5. STAY SAFE ON HALLOWEEN !
Ghouls, ghosts and monsters are not the only things to be afraid of on Halloween. Accidents and mishaps increase dramatically as children go out Trick or Treating. Be aware of potential hazards and take precautionary steps to avoid them. Here are some Halloween Safety Tips* to keep in mind.
6. MENTORING IS A BEAUTIFUL GIFT:
Sharing your knowledge with others may be one of the greatest gifts you can give. By volunteering your time and talents, you could make a difference in the lives of many people. From helping adults learn to read to tutoring kids in math, the opportunities to give back are almost endless. Imagine opening an entire new world for someone. There is no greater feeling to know that when you give back, you are making the community better for generations to come. Read related blog here.*