The Live Civilly Community Service Club ran its pilot program in January 2015 at the Moorestown Upper Elementary School. This inaugural program was established to help build youth service initiatives that were youth-developed, youth-driven and youth-implemented. When the registration went live, the 30 spots for the class filled immediately and another 42 spaces filled for a waiting list. To say that the response was overwhelming would be an understatement!
During the eight week session, students in grades 4, 5 and 6 discussed, developed and implemented service projects in a variety of different areas. From trying to impact their peers and encourage in-school recycling through the “Wasteless Wednesdays” project to creating pet toys for a local animal shelter to creating blessings bags for individuals who are homeless …this group of students planned, executed and followed through on a variety of service projects during their 8 week session.
For two weeks they planned an environmental marketing campaign to raise awareness about the need to recycle and be more environmentally aware. Following their efforts in the UES they extended their service to a letter writing campaign for the volunteer Moorestown and Lenola Fire Departments. Following a lengthy discussion about what service is, and the importance of serving one’s community, the students decided to thank their local volunteer firefighters personally with hand-written letters and pictures.
The next project was to benefit an animal shelter, and to provide toys to the animals at the Animal Welfare Association in Voorhees so that the financial resources of the shelter could be put to better use. The students spent the afternoon making cat toys and dog toys that were bagged up and sent to the shelter. And finally, the students chose to make “blessing bags” for homeless individuals. Through a Live Civilly connection to Touch NJ (an outreach effort in Camden, NJ), students donated items and made the blessings bags for Touch NJ representatives to share with their homeless patrons in Camden. The bags consisted of items like toothbrushes and toothpaste, protein bars, warm socks and other necessary items that would help individuals who struggle with homelessness. The Session I students were amazingly thoughtful and had a lot of great energy – and they taught us a lot along the way!
Session II has kicked off and is presently developing ideas for Spring 2015. The group has begun the session with big ideas, from creating a Live Civilly Community Service Club stop on the Police Unity Tour Coming up in May, to supporting on-going Food For All efforts. They are also interested in engaging in bigger projects like “Build a Boma” and creating care packages for our active duty military members. The students in the second session have begun their research and their efforts with a great amount of enthusiasm.
Live Civilly is a youth-driven service organization. We provide young people with the opportunities to participate in effort and events that benefit their communities, but even more so, we help young people create their own efforts to benefit their community (whether local, regional, national or global). Whether that is supporting a food drive and helping with the logistics or encouraging our Community Service Club members to come up with their own projects and help them to complete them, Live Civilly is about engaging young people and helping them to realize that community service and helping others is very simple. It only takes their ideas and their efforts – we, the adults, are here to provide support and guidance.
To learn more about Live Civilly service opportunities or the Live Civilly Community Service Club please visit our webpage at www.livecivilly.org – sign up for our blog and view our volunteer page! There is always something going on and we are happy to have new volunteers join us! For more information or questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask your questions!