Community projects are a great way to help your children to be more aware of the people around them and the wider world that they’re living in. It’s an effective way of developing compassion for others, because they engage with people and projects within their local community. Children could help the elderly, the environment, or even other families. Very young, and very small children can still make a BIG difference, and it’s empowering for them to know that. Besides benefitting your local community, each idea also addresses Jewish values, and together they go a long way toward tikkun olam, making the world a better place.
Related: 3 Easy Community Service Projects for Families
Community projects can be simple; the important thing is to explain to children why they’re doing them so that they begin to understand the wider implications of their actions. Also, it’s important to choose the right project for young people to get involved with, so here are some ideas:
- Find out what your local food bank needs. Then gather donated food items, and take them there.
- Donate unwanted clothing to a local shelter or charity shop.
- Pick up litter in local greenspaces. Remember to wear protective gear and check with the local parks department or landowner to ensure safety for all.
- Make a picture or card for older people who are living in nursing homes, or even speak to the homes and see if they have certain visiting times for children. Children can help bring joy to the elderly and many nursing homes have special programs for these type of visits.
- Donate films, games, toys, crayons, paper or books to the local children’s hospital. Bikur cholim, visiting the sick, is an easy, but impactful mitzvah to perform.
- Help to plant trees, flowers, and vegetables in the local community.
- Help an older neighbor with their gardening (e.g. you could mow the lawn and your children could gather the grass) and check in with them from time to time.
- Visit homebound neighbors. You could do some baking ahead of the visit and bring round the homemade treats to share.
- Help out at a local animal shelter, either by donating items they need or by spending time socializing with the animals, or cleaning out their cages etc. It’s a wonderful way to teach tza’ar ba’alei chayim, the ethical treatment of animals.
- Set up your home for recycling and get your children involved in recycling items into the right bins etc. This makes for a perfect lesson in bal tashchit¸ preventing waste.
There are so many things your children can do to help others and to start to contribute to their own community. Start small and make sure they’re comfortable with what they’re doing. Also, always check that the recipients are happy to have you help or visit, and that the environment will be a safe one for your children.
October 21, 2019