Dawn Ramsey of the Jordan School District PTA shared some ideas for getting involved in community service this holiday season.
• Help at a local Food Pantry or Homeless Shelter
o Shop together for toiletries and sort them into bags for residents at a homeless shelter.
o Serve a meal together as a family at a local soup kitchen.
o Visit a Senior Center together and entertain the residents playing games or telling stories.
o Bake dog treats or make dogs and cat toys and donate them to your local Animal Shelter.
o Foster animals when the shelter is at capacity.
• Take thank you treats to the local fire or police station.
o Hold a book or art supply drive to help local teachers with their classrooms.
• Do something simple like delivering cookies or dinner to a neighbor, shoveling snow, or walking their dog.
• Invite the whole family. Use your volunteer activities as an opportunity to spend time with family members you don`t see every day. Strengthen your entire family by including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins in your volunteering activities.
Volunteer Organizations with Great Ideas
Volunteers of America is a human services nonprofit organization that serves more than 10,000 people across the state each year through a dozen programs addressing homelessness, substance abuse, mental illness, and domestic violence. In Utah families can volunteer to do many activities, such as cooking and serving meals to clients, collecting items to donate, and sorting donations. Volunteers of America invites people to visit Candy Cane Corner, an annual collaboration between The Road Home, Volunteers of America, Utah and YWCA Utah. Each year, these three organizations engage the community in providing a holiday shopping experience for the families they serve. Visit the website to donate new gifts, volunteer, or make a monetary donation. Please visit Volunteers of America online to volunteer and learn more about how they serve the community. https://www.voaut.org/
Utah PTA Student Board- We have an opportunity for students to serve on the Utah PTA Student Board. They meet once a month, and participate in service events throughout the year. This year one of their projects will be organizing and hosting our State Battle of the Bands competition, which is a fantastic event where the best high school bands across the state who have competed and won their own local competition, will have the chance to win money, recording time, and musical training. You can visit UtahPTA.org for more information, or email Patsy@UtahPTA.org
Frekwency- For those living along the Wasatch Front, there`s a new local High Adventure Humanitarian Club, focused on serving the community, combined with outdoor activities/adventures. It was started by a young woman whose mission is to help young people meet new friends, have fun, and make the world a better place by doing service. Anyone age 14 & older are invited to participate. So far they`ve made & distributed hygiene kits to homeless people around the valley, done a food bank project at St. Andrews, and coming up they`re doing a hot chocolate bar and visiting at a local rehab facility. They are working on a Sub for Santa project and Thank a Cop treat bags. (They could use funding help/sponsorships.)
• Big Hearted Families- Books, games and inspiration for families who want to volunteer together. http://www.doinggoodtogether.org/
• Youth Service America- Ideas to get kids excited about volunteering.
• Service Project Tool Kit- Step by step instructions on planning a service project with your family, neighbors and friends.
• United We Serve- Idea`s on service from helping cancer patients, to military families, to mentoring young people. http://ysa.org/