Giving Back During the Season of Giving

Service Learning Part 3: Giving Back During the Holidays

During the holidays, many people begin to think about how they can give back to their communities, even in a small way.  Many people donate money, time, food, or clothing to different organizations in their communities.  Even if you don’t have a great deal of time or money, there are still many ways you and your family can give back this season!

Community Service Benefits Volunteers

Community service not only benefits the people (or animals) you are giving to, but often there are hidden benefits to the people participating in the community service.

Here are some benefits people report from giving back:

  1. Overall boost in general, daily happiness
  2. Opportunity to learn job skills
  3. Career exploration and development opportunities
  4. Feeling like you are a part of something larger than yourself
  5. Developing a sense of purpose
  6. Increase in social well-being: You can meet amazing people and grow friendships while volunteering!
  7. And many many more!
13 Ideas for Giving Back During the Holidays
  1. Donate food to a local food bank (don’t forget about donating during slow times of the year though)
  2. Volunteer at a homeless shelter or food pantry
  3. Offer to walk dogs or play with cats in a local animal shelter
  4. Donate dog toys, cat toys, food, etc. to local shelters (use your artistic abilities to make your own toys to donate)
  5. Donate blood to the blood bank
  6. Bake cookies and take to a local senior center or retirement community
  7. Sing carols in a park, neighborhood, or community center
  8. Donate toys or books to a children’s hospital
  9. Clean out closets and donate items to Goodwill or Salvation Army
  10. Host a holiday party for those that are less fortunate than you
  11. Host a holiday sock, clothing, or toy drive for needy families
  12. Hold a donation or supply drive for people affected by a natural disaster. See this blog for information on how to help Puerto Rico
  13. Host a beach or park clean-up like the one here
More Great Examples from our 4-H’ers

Many of our 4-H clubs have participated in service projects this holiday season.  Our Hearts and Hooves Club  worked hard putting together a horsey-themed tree and wreath for The Arc Tampa Bay. This tree, along with many others will be auctioned off during their festival of trees to support The Arc Foundation.

Many of our youth and 4-H clubs have been collecting supplies to send to our Puerto Rico 4-H members affected by the hurricanes. They have been doing a great job!

For more ideas on how to give back any time of the year and to find a service project related to your 4-H project visit: http://web.extension.illinois.edu/cjmm/downloads/51923.pdf 

If you would like to donate to the Florida 4-H program this holiday season, visit http://www.tinyurl.com/givetogrow to donate.  A donation of just $20 can pay for a child’s supplies for a year.

Resources: 
Jones, J. N. (2017). The Development of Youth Purpose Through Community Service and Social Action. American Secondary Education45(3), 50-67.

Yeung, J. K., Zhuoni, Z., Tae Yeun, K., Zhang, Z., & Kim, T. Y. (2017). Volunteering and health benefits in general adults: cumulative effects and forms. BMC Public Health171-8. doi:10.1186/s12889-017-4561-8