All 4-H members are encouraged to complete at least one activity or project that helps their community. Community service is usually a short-term project to help the community, whereas service learning is a longer-term project where youth identify a need, research the problem, and design and develop solutions to address the issue long-term. If you haven’t read it, check out our previous post about the difference between community service and service learning, or download this tip sheet to share at your next 4-H meeting. Here are 17 ideas to jumpstart your community or service learning projects in the coming 4-H year, organized by topic:
- Collect food for a local food pantry- check out our Peanut Butter Challenge!
- Volunteer for our local Food4Kids Backpack program
- Start a community garden.
- Hold a town hall to increase awareness about food insecurity in your community; share your results with community leaders.
- Use the 4-H GIS project to map your community to identify food deserts; share your results with the chamber of commerce.
- Organize a litter clean-up for a local park, beach, river, or lake.
- Participate in a citizen science project– the University of Florida has more than 20 projects to choose from!
- Start a fishing line recycling program in your community.
- Design displays and presentations to raise awareness about invasive species impacting your community.
- Design a campaign to address water quality or conservation at your school or community.
- Help your community prepare for hazardous weather- join your local CERT (community emergency response team) or create awareness about the importance of a having an emergency plan for families. In 2018, 4-Hers in the Northwest District held a retreat to learn all about disaster preparedness. Check out their video:
12. Host a Living on My Own financial simulation for your school, community, or club.
13. Plan a day camp for younger youth to teach them financial literacy.
14. Plan a piggy bank decorating contest to raise awareness about the importance of saving.
15. Plan a 5K to raise awareness about healthy lifestyles; donate the funds raised to an organization that is working to address healthy issues such as obesity, heart health, or diabetes.
16. Host a health fair to educate your school or community about healthy lifestyle choices.
17. In 2018, teens in northwest Florida prepared chemo kits for individuals battling cancer. Check out this video about their project: