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Seeking IN-MEETING opportunities for student volunteers

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Resource posted by: Sarah Westerman

Created on: December 29, 2011

Resource description

At buildOn (www.buildOn.org) I work with local high school students in a community service capacity - most of the time I set up projects for them to attend on weekends and we go together as a group to volunteer.

Some students, however, are new to volunteering and/or do not have good transportation to my projects, and so sometimes I bring projects to my weekly afterschool meetings - this gives everyone an opportunity to do something for their community regardless of what constraints may keep them from attending events outside of school. We call this In-Meeting Service.

Some of the things we like to do are making fleece blankets for babies and young children; making friendship bracelets and decorating canvas bags for foster children; making bookmarks and cards for seniors, veterans, and disabled people; and making simple French/English or Spanish/English books to send to the countries where the students travel when we build schools.

I can never have too many projects to bring to my schools to keep everyone busy; in fact, I rarely have enough. Today, I am asking for two things from you:

1) If you work with an organization that could use the students' help on projects and which I could pick up, take to the school meetings to complete, and then bring back, please let me know. Some ideas are mailings, letter-writing campaigns, making posters, etc., but please don't limit us to only these things! One organization a few years ago asked us to create centerpieces for a New Years dinner out of materials they supplied. Another time we decorated printer-paper boxes to donate to an animal shelter for the kittens. Be creative! What does your organization need? I am interested in regular projects as well as one-time-only.

2) I am ALWAYS requesting materials for projects that we do often - some of my most desired items include

  • FLEECE (we make blankets, mittens, hats, scarves, etc and donate them to warming shelters... we can never have enough fleece!)
  • Canvas bags of various sizes to paint and donate to kids in foster care (to carry their stuff... who wants to drag around a garbage bag full of clothes or personal items?)
  • Embroidery thread, beads to make Friendship Bracelets to give to kids we tutor, or to kids in foster care to let them know they aren't alone
  • Cardstock for making cards, bookmarks, and bookcovers for literacy organizations, libraries, etc.
  • Catnip! for making little catnip mice to donate to the animal shelter
  • Mini clay pots to plant flowers to donate to seniors with their meal delivery through Meals on Wheels
  • Did I mention fleece???
  • Anything else you can think of that we might be able to make/do/help with for an organization that YOU care about! I'm open to ideas!

Please keep me in my during the new year and help me find convenient, meaningful opportunities for my students. It's so hard when I know they want to do something positive but they are limited by family reponsibilities or lack of transportation. Finally, please help me spread the word about the work I do with youth to organizations that might need our help!

Thank you for all that you do,

Sarah Westerman

sarah.westerman@buildOn.org

586.738.4756