As a Canadian homeschooling family we are well aware that community service opportunities may be harder to come by. You see in the public school's kids are encouraged to start volunteering in small ways early on. Whether they are taking papers to the office or helping smaller kids on the buses they are actively volunteering regularly. All these hours are tallied and kept on record. In highschool they need 40 during their highschool careers. Well as homeschooler's it's not as easy. You can't say 'for the record my child helped me voluntarily to clean.' Finding opportunities can be tricker still for kids under 12. Legally some places just aren't allowed to have kids helping in any capacity.
Which is why I was so thrilled to find out that TD Tree Day allowed kids to participate with an adult accompaniment. In our case it working out well having two kids and two parents. Especially since the site we were tree planting was an old ski slope that was suffering massive erosion. The local leader of the conservation authority came out to speak about the site and we set to work lugging the trees. Make no mistake these were trees. Some as tall as seven feet. It had rained the night before so it was no small feat to lug on tree easily weighing 60lbs down the vertical slope. It didn't help that a large portion of the slope was rock and gravel.
Our kids did great planting seven trees between them and working just as hard as any adult. Free snacks, t-shirts, and work gloves were a bonus. I enjoyed watching them diligently caring for each tree. While others raced against their friends to plant as many possible my kids carefully built dams to ensure there was no run off during rain storms around the front of the trees. They took their time picking there way through the other tender plants coming up. Careful not to disturb the patches of precious milkweed and tiny saplings struggling to thrive on such an incline.
So all of this work got me to thinking what other opportunities may there possibly be in Canada for our youth.
1. TD Tree Day.
2. Political Campaign offices may need people to stuff envelopes.
3. Mowing, raking, weeding for elderly home owners in your area.
4. Reading, visiting the elderly in nursing homes.
5. Helping out in the clubs they belong to.
6. Collecting blankets, food, toys for the local animal shelter.
7. Collecting trash (safely) from parks, roadways.
8. Christmas toy collection facilities may allow children to help pack up gifts.
9. Organize a Christmas gift drive it can benefit people who are less fortunate or animals.
10. Donate food or supplies to the local food bank. They can collect from family and friends to make a bigger donation if they wish.
11. Organize a backpack and school supply drive.
12. If you have a particularly Techie child have them teach computers to seniors.
13. Contact the local community Meal of Wheels program and make up animal food bags to donate. Many people can't afford the food or get out to get food. Their pets need meals too.
14. Make activity boxes (decorated shoeboxes) up for sick kids in the hospital. They can include cards, travel games, reading materials, stuffed toys.
15. Make bookmarks and donate them to the public library to hand out.
Remember no service project is too small. Record what your child has done and the length of time it has taken them. You will be surprised to see how quickly it adds up!
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