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Service in the Summertime
Summer is here, at long last, bringing with it a break from school and the gift of more time. As you contemplate how to spend your days, consider hatching a plan to help the world in some way. Here, we offer ten tips for launching a service project, gleaned from our years of supporting young people as they work to change the world.
Pick your passion. List the things you love and circle a few you could possibly use to help other people or the planet. Whether it’s baseball or baking, pets or painting, there’s a way to use what you love to make a difference.
Brainstorm. Think about how you might use your passion to do good in the world. Jot down ideas yourself or spew them to someone else who will act as your scribe.
Find a few allies. Share your ideas with family or close friends. They can offer feedback, extend your thinking, and cheer you on.
Land on a plan. It won’t be at all fully formed yet, but finish this sentence: “I want to…” Jot your answer on an index card and tape it up wherever you do your work to help you stay focused.
Craft your elevator pitch. Write down what you plan to do and why, and fine-tune it into a 15-second speech. Use your pitch to start sharing your idea with the wider world.
Take a first step. There’s no right or wrong way to begin, and progress begets progress. You might create a flyer about your project or a list of chores you’ll do for neighbors to raise initial funding.
Start building community partners. Free of your school schedule, you can meet with potential supporters during workday hours. Local businesses are often willing to offer mentoring, free workspace or advertising, and even funding.
Rally your friends. They’d likely love to volunteer their time to help you. And three friends, say, making and selling bracelets for a cause or cleaning up a river can be far more effective than a solo effort.
Take advantage of summer happenings – craft fairs, athletic events, and music festivals. Ask if you can set up a table with information and possibly a donation jar, or sell your wares if your project is of that ilk.
Dream big but start small. Take one step and then another, remembering that the way forward is usually more winding than straight. Know that with a cause you truly care about and your commitment to it, you can and will make a meaningful difference to the world!
The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes celebrates inspiring, public-spirited young people from diverse backgrounds all across North America. Each year, the Barron Prize honors 25 outstanding young leaders ages 8 to 18 who have made a significant positive difference to people and the environment.