Designing Local Service Projects
When you’re designing local service projects for your youth group keep the following helpful hints in mind:
1. Outreach programs should start young – at least junior high age.
2. Outreach programs should always be followed up with education and additional opportunities to serve.
3. Outreach programs should be chosen using specific criteria.
- 1. The project should be “small” enough to be doable and “large” enough to provide a sense of accomplishment.
- 2. The project should involve personal interaction with the people that are being served.
- 3. The project should be recognized by others in the community as ‘real need” – this is for the benefit of the students who want to know they’re making a difference and not just wasting their time.
- 4. The project should “stretch” the participants – draw them out of their comfort zone.
- 5. The project should allow enough flexibility for participants to utilize their talents, knowledge, and experience.
- 6. The project should allow participants the freedom to express their faith.
4. Outreach programs should seek to partner with the local leadership and culture in which you’re ministering.
5. Outreach programs should vary in duration and intensity.
6. Outreach programs should include substantial orientation and debriefing.
Service Project Ideas
The following project ideas are a good place to start if you’re trying to design service projects around the six specific criteria we suggest.
- Soup Kitchens
- Rescue Missions
- Shelters for Women and Children
- Group Homes
- Convalescent Homes
- Hospitals (especially Children Hospitals)
- Habitat for Humanity
- Latchkey Programs
- Tutoring the Underserved
- Refugee Assistance
- Big Brother/Big Sister
- Sponsoring a Child or Priest (in a Third World Country)
- Vacation Bible School
- Ministering to Families of Prisoners
- Indian Reservations
- Disaster Relief