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Environmental Leadership Uncategorized

How to Get Students to Volunteer (Without Nagging!)

“Who wants to come out and pick up trash in our neighborhood Saturday morning?” a bright and eager teacher asked a class of 9th graders. While a few dedicated students might show up, most probably won’t. Saturday morning is prime time for middle and high school students to sleep in, not volunteer.

Kids and teens volunteering
INSPIRING IMAGE BY SHUTTERSTOCK

But, counselors, teachers, and parents know that kids who take advantage of volunteer opportunities can bolster their college applications, learn new skills, find friendship, and a sense of purpose.  So, how can you motivate students of all ages to get out there and volunteer, even on a Saturday morning?

Here are 3 tips to help boost student interest in volunteering (no nagging involved!):

Follow Their Interests

Finding volunteer opportunities that coincide perfectly with student interests is a game-changer. For example, younger students who are animal lovers might enjoy playing with rescue cats.  You can explain that the kitties need people-time to learn to trust strangers and are friendly for their future families.  Lakes, rivers, and oceans are beloved by children of all ages.  So what better way to teach young students about the delicate ecosystem than saving the fish and other sea creatures with a beach clean-up?

High school students who express interest in a career in healthcare can volunteer at a local hospital. Baseball stars can mentor special needs players offering one-on-one coaching.  There are also opportunities for teens who delight in having fun with kids and want to volunteer at a summer camp

When there’s interest, there’s motivation. So, the goal should be to find volunteer opportunities for students that are relevant, exciting and interesting for them!   

Explain the Benefits of Volunteering

For many, community service is something kids slog through to meet school requirements or appease parents.  All the while, they’re wondering, “What’s in it for me?”  After all, their brains are wired to be a bit self-centered at this point in their development. Take advantage and think of some appealing ideas about how volunteering benefits your child both now, and later. Try some of these…. 

For younger kids….

  • You’ll get the opportunity to meet new friends who care about making sure homeless people have warm socks, just like you do.
  • Volunteering can be fun with your besties! Afterward, let’s go out for ice cream.
  • You’re really great with animals.  Think about what a great home the kittens will find because you teach them to love kids. 
  • Hey, we’re going to the beach today.  You’ll get to swim with the fish and help take care of them too!

For teens….

  • Someday you’ll apply to college. Volunteer experience will show schools that you’re more than just smart.  They’ll see what’s important to you.
  • Volunteering will give you the chance to learn real-world skills they’ll never teach you in a classroom.
  • Little kids will love the one-on-one attention you give them when you teach them how to hold a bat. You’ll be the rock-star coach.
  • Volunteering involves zero tests and no homework. It’s all about doing cool things with friends.
  • You know that retail job you want at Zumiez this summer?  Why not volunteer in a thrift store until then so you get to know fashion trends.  You’ll have a real advantage when you apply.

Keep it relatable, up-beat, and actionable.  Find fun YouTube videos showing elementary age students volunteering.  Google sample high school resumes or college application essays that show inspiring volunteer experience. Sharing other students’ successes can be powerful persuasion for increasing interest in volunteerism.

Positive Peer Pressure

Kids like what their friends like. In a survey, 25% of students who invited their friends to volunteer with them sparked their friend’s interest in volunteering! So, use the power of influence and friendship.

How?

Reach out to families that are already volunteering and ask them to share their experiences with other students. Share stories and images that highlight volunteering friendships and the fun, feel-good aspects of helping others.  Better yet, ask when they are volunteering next and offer to carpool.

Getting students to volunteer enthusiastically requires that we make it fun. It also helps if we can include a small, but perceptible self-esteem boost in their experience with volunteering. With the right framing, enough support, and the opportunity to create some memorable moments with friends, students will be lining up to volunteer!

About the Author

Amy von Kaenel, CEO of VolunteerCrowd
Volunteering is one of the best growth opportunities on the path to college and career readiness.  VolunteerCrowd gives all middle school, high school, and college students access to meaningful volunteer projects to build a volunteer portfolio. 

Categories
Business Crafts Leadership Super Activities for Super Kids Tutoring Uncategorized

6 Business Ideas for Enterprising Kids

Encouraging kids to think like entrepreneurs teaches them long-lasting lessons about the value of hard work, careful planning, and creativity.

By Melanie Hargrave

child businessman

We all remember sitting at the end of our driveways at a table, a pitcher of lemonade waiting expectantly, with a big cardboard sign announcing our 25-cent cups of refreshment. Most likely, that lemonade stand came out once or twice a year over summer break as a fun way for mom to get you out of the house and for you to make some money for candy.

But what if you wanted to make money more permanently?

Teaching kids the value of money is an important life lesson that too many parents delay. While children are often given an allowance of some kind, most kids and even young adults grow up with very little concept of business skills.

Rather than waiting until your kids are out of the house to teach them about getting a job, you can encourage them to handle money responsibly, work hard, and develop their creativity by starting their own business now. It’s an important life lesson: hard work and dedication pays off!

And although the lemonade stand is a classic fall back, here are 6 other business ideas your kid might like to try his or her hand at.

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1. Dog Walking

Starting a dog-walking business can be a very lucrative endeavor—even for adults! Since many families are out of the house all day at work or school, their pets are often left home all day in need of exercise and relief.

Help your child organize a service by contacting neighbors and friends. With Facebook and other social media outlets, it is even easier to find people who may need a dog walker. You can even set up a blog or website for local families to find the business and contact you (or your child) about hiring him/her.

child walking a dog

2. Selling Crafts

Does your child have a talent or passion for crafting? Show them that this talent can be more than just a hobby by selling his or her crafts. Show them how to set up an account on an e-commerce site like Etsy or help them contact local businesses and boutiques that might be interested in selling them at their shop. From homemade slime to beaded jewelry, there is a market for just about anything.

3. Doing Yard Work

Doing yard work doesn’t have to be a chore. Many homeowners are more than willing to hire a young entrepreneur to mow their lawns, pull weeds, and do other similar tasks. They can enjoy paying a lower price for good work and your child will get a pretty penny for their efforts. If you take time to send out seasonal flyers and business cards, your kid can develop a small side business into quite a lucrative empire.

l doing yard work

4. Babysitting

Babysitting is another classic go-to, but is no less viable an option. Depending on the age of your kid, they can work as mother’s helpers or independent nannies. Help them set prices and rates for services and sweeten the deal with CPR certification. If they set competitive rates, your son or daughter may have parents banging down your door for their services. Experienced babysitters can organize a half-day or full-day summer camp for neighborhood kids by combining activities such as arts & crafts, sports or baking.

5. Tutoring Younger Students

Professional tutors can cost parents an arm and a leg. However, if your child is particularly gifted at a subject like math or writing, he or she could easily start a tutoring business for younger students. Their rates will obviously be dramatically lower than professional prices (which can be as high as $60/hr.—yikes!) but still a great income for a kid.

teen tutoring a younger child

6. Blogging

Writing on a blog is a great outlet for kids to make some money. If they need some inspiration, help them find a topic they enjoy and show them how to set up a blog and optimize their posts. Once they have some regular content up, they can monetize their blog through Google and other online ad services fairly simply. This is probably a good business venture for middle school or high school kids, but any age can have fun with this side project.

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Melanie Hargrave is a wife and homemaker whose pride and joy is her family. In addition to spending time with her husband and daughters, she loves writing about a variety of topics from business to home improvement, and finds inspiration from success stories like that of Rick Schaden.

Categories
Academic Writing Academics Creative Writing Gifted Girls Only Leadership Math Public Speaking Reading Tutoring

17 Movies, Books & More About School






Whatever their thoughts on school, kids identify with these books, movies, apps, and TV shows about students learning life lessons in the classroom.

By the Kids’ Media Experts at SmartFeed

Education has long been a popular setting in mainstream media, both for inspiration and for entertainment. It has introduced us to famous teachers (Mr. Kotter, Mrs. Frizzle), famous schools (Ridgemont High, Rushmore, Wayside School, Hogwarts), and famous school-centric stories and shows (Wonder, South Park, Saved by the Bell). In each case, we watch with excitement, empathy, or humor, based on our own set of school experiences. And sometimes we get to relish the experience of seeing school (and the learning process) in a whole new light.

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Here, we have gathered a list of titles for families who want some academic role models or lessons for their children, as well as a couple selections that simply offer a little scholastic comic relief. Reflecting a broad mix of real-life and fictional stories, the listings here prove that there are many different ways to learn and many different ways to teach.

Great Books with a Schoolroom Setting

The Year of Miss Agnes book coverThe Year of Miss Agnes
Ages 6+
Schoolteachers don’t usually last very long at this one-room schoolhouse in Alaska. Miss Agnes is different. Not only does she stick around for a year, she also makes learning relatable and enjoyable to the citizens of the remote village.

 

 

Frindle Book CoverFrindle
Ages 8+
Adventures in vocabulary are in play in this story. A boy creates a new word for an ordinary object, and his creation catches on, much to the chagrin of his teacher and parents!

 

 

princess-academy-coverPrincess Academy
Ages 10+
Strong community and deep friendships form in this fantasy novel. Love of words and learning propel the heroine to become an invaluable resource within her community.

 

 

An App for Kids’ Academic Enrichment

wizard-school-cover


Wizard School

Ages 7+
This creative app taps into the user’s imagination and enthusiasm in true 21st century fashion. Videos, photos, drawings, and inventive challenges combine to inspire learning.

 

Kids’ Movies with Inspiring Academic Role Models

akeelah-and-the-bee
Akeelah and the Bee
Ages 7+
A girl’s journey to a big spelling bee is supported by her community. At times she struggles to embrace her own intelligence and worth.

 

 

spellbound


Spellbound

Ages 9+
This documentary follows several competitors for the National Spelling Bee. Hard work, family, and big dreams are part of the equation that helps get these kids on the big stage.

 

on-the-way-to-school
On the Way to School

Ages 9+
Most Americans have a simple way to get to school; a short walk, bike ride, or trip in a car or bus will get us there. For other kids around the world, it’s not easy, or comfortable, but it’s worth it because they desperately want an education.

 

the-miracle-workerThe Miracle Worker
Ages 9+
The story of Helen Keller and her teacher is beyond inspiring. Helen has no understanding of language or of interacting normally with family members. Through ingenuity, perseverance and patience, teacher Annie Sullivan opens up the world of words and language to her student. Annie is a testament to all teachers’ hard work. A must-see.

 

rudy
Rudy
Ages 10+
Determination and hard work are the life lessons strongly represented by the main character in this fine film. With the help of a kindly teacher, teammates and friends, the underdog Rudy fulfills his life’s dream. Definitely best for tweens and older, due to language, a death and sports violence.

 

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TV for Kids’ Academic Inspiration and Fun

little-house-on-the-prairie
Little House on the Prairie
Ages 7+
The one-room schoolhouse in this beloved series is not the only location where education takes place. Pioneer children living on a farm learn a variety of practical tasks and life skills every day. History and geography are natural discussion topics when watching as a family.

 

mythbustersMythbusters
Ages 8+
Exhibiting a strong level of curiosity, the crew of Mythbusters sets out in each episode to prove an idea, sometimes an urban legend, sometimes an idiom like “a bull in a china shop.” There are often explosions, items being thrown into walls, or things launched skyward, all in the name of science and discovery.

 

More Mature TV and Movies About Academics

These titles have more mature themes and language, so they’re recommended for older teen audiences.

dream-schoolDream School
Ages 14+
The mission at this school is to inspire and encourage teens at risk of dropping out. Celebrity mentors and teachers have their work cut out for them. Be aware: Strong language and personal circumstances mean this is best for teens and older.

dead-poets-society
Dead Poets Society

Ages 14+
This classic is an inspiring coming-of-age story that celebrates creativity and a free spirit. There are mature themes and activities, so this is best for older tweens and teens.

 

good-will-hunting
Good Will Hunting

Ages 14+ (rated R)
This Academy Award winner demonstrates that academics can open doors for people from all classes (e.g., a working-class Boston youth), but you have to believe in yourself and want to walk through those new doors.

 

freedom-writers
Freedom Writers

Ages 13+
An idealistic high school teacher discovers the way to connect with her students is to help find their similarities. Her emphasis on really listening to her students is notable. The hip-hop soundtrack will appeal to teen viewers.

 

 

stand-and-deliver
Stand and Deliver
Ages 13+
Sacrifice and hard work are front-and-center in this inspiring movie. It is based on the story of a real math teacher who went to extreme lengths to teach his kids math, and eventually AP Calculus. The students struggle with life issues outside of school, but while in school they become driven and engaged. Real-life scenes can be rough, and the language is questionable at times, but relevant to the movie.

to-sir-with-love

 

To Sir, With Love
Ages 13+
This classic is another inspired teacher tale. Real-life issues such as class and race are addressed, while the teacher works hard to connect with and discipline his students so that they are ready and able to learn.

 

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