On the fourth Saturday every October, millions of volunteers from across the country come together for Make a Difference Day. The event is one of the largest and most widely recognized days of community service. Volunteers will tidy parks, engage in environmental tasks, collect food and host bake sales for local food banks, raise money for charities, donate their time to nursing homes and women’s refuge centers, and engage in a host of other activities that celebrate the power of people to make a difference.
One of the most rewarding things about Make a Difference Day is that anybody, no matter their age or background, can help others and give back to the communities. And there’s no better place to start learning about making a difference than in the classroom.
Here are 5 awesome activities that students can participate in on Make a Difference Day.
1. Tidy School Grounds
Raking leaves, planting fall flower bulbs, and tidying the school grounds is a great way to get students involved in volunteer work and community service. It’s also a good way for them to get some fresh air! Use one of the day’s free periods to get students to help clean up the schoolyard. Once they’re engaged in these small environmental tasks, tie in an informal lesson about environmental interconnectedness.
2. Thank You Cards
Make a few tweaks to this lesson plan and create thank you cards for people in your school or community. Making a difference doesn’t always have to be about volunteering and community service. It can also be about random acts of kindness and empathy. Showing people appreciation and gratitude for the work they do is an easy way for young students to give back to the community.
3. Crafts for Senior Centers
Get crafty in art class and make coffee mugs for nursing homes and senior centers. Make a Difference Day is about building community awareness, and this activity accomplishes that by bridging the generation gap. Encourage an attitude of service by having the students offer their gifts in person.
4. Raise Money for Local Charities
Hold a talent show, bake sale, or car wash and donate the proceeds to a local charity. Make a difference by giving back to the community while raising awareness and money for a local charity.
5. Good Deed Coupon Book
Have students create a coupon book with a list of chores and services they can do (watering the school’s plants, helping to clean up gym materials, etc.). This coupon book doesn’t have to focus on volunteer work at school; it can be given to parents or grandparents, too.
Make a Difference Day is a national day of helping others, a celebration of neighbors helping neighbors and a testament to the power and goodness of humanity. Whether they’re giving back to their school or volunteering in the community, students are never too young to start changing the world!