Kids Make a Difference

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HELPFUL HINTS

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Use these pointers to keep your children’s service projects
running effectively.

  • Plan ahead. Even the best-intentioned service
    projects can backfire if they’re not properly planned. Take time to
    map, coordinate, staff, and evaluate every service project you
    sponsor. Your extra effort will pay off in the form of repeat
    volunteers, happy staff, and fruitful projects.
  • Prepare adults. When adults have realistic
    expectations about children’s service projects, working alongside
    – not over — kids is more productive and meaningful for both
    groups. Explain to adults that by serving with children, they’re
    helping children learn to serve. Encourage adults to focus on the
    goal of mentoring kids for service — not frustrations and
    inconveniences.
  • Be specific. Go over what’s expected of
    children — and what isn’t. Everyone — adults included — needs to
    know what each job involves. Be clear about behavioral expectations
    for children and what jobs may be beyond children’s abilities.
  • Give everyone a task. Kids feel valued when
    they’re given responsibility, and they’ll rise to the occasion.
    Structure tasks so children can do as much as they’re able.
  • Provide for needs. Plan for transportation,
    supplies, and snacks.
  • Encourage kids. Help kids be excellent
    representatives for Jesus by encouraging them and honoring their
    contributions.
  • Structure projects so they’re age-appropriate.
    Younger children need more hands-on projects. Instead of a canned
    food drive, have younger kids deliver the collected cans to the
    food pantry and stack them on the empty shelves so they can
    tangibly see the impact of their service.

SERVING MAKES KIDS DIFFERENT

Kids benefit from serving others. Children for Children
(www.children4children.org), a nonprofit organization promoting
hands-on volunteerism and giving for kids, identifies several
benefits children reap when they serve. They learn traits such as
responsibility, leadership, critical thinking, problem-solving,
self-respect, self-discipline, self-motivation, and tolerance.

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When we teach a child to serve, we’re also teaching that child
to become a servant for life because children who serve become
adults who serve. Consider these statistics from Engaging Youth in
Lifelong Service (Independent Sector).

  • Adults who volunteered as children give more money and
    volunteer more time than adults who began serving later in
    life.
  • Two-thirds of adult volunteers began serving as children.
  • Those who volunteer as children are twice as likely to
    volunteer as those who don’t.
  • Across incomes and age groups, those who volunteered as
    children give and volunteer more than those who didn’t.
  • Those who volunteered as youth and whose parents volunteered
    became the most generous adults when it comes to giving their
    time.

Gordon and Becki West are the founders of KidZ Kan!, a
ministry of KidZ At Heart International (www.kidZatheart.org).
Please keep in mind that phone numbers, addresses, and prices are
subject to change.

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  1. I am just retired from Compassion International India field office as National Church Advocacy Supervisor. Our family involved in chldren ministry (after school programs and School for poorest of the poor in the fishermen colony and housing board colony). How can we partner with you.

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