As the temperatures start to drop and the season begins to turn, keeping your community connected is of utmost importance! Pumpkin spice lattes, Bath and Body Works candles, and college football all give off the infectiously warm energy of autumn. But, tight-knit communities are warmer than any cozy cashmere sweater. Check out our recommendations on how YOU can make your community more connected with service this fall.
1.) Hosting a Fall Festival: Spreading seasonal cheer throughout this time of year can uplift the hearts and spirits of many. One way to practice your event planning skills as well as connect with your community is to help host a fall festival! Your student council can partner with groups within your school or community to create an amazing event. Consider activities like hayrides, corn mazes, crafts, face painting, and more. Giving companies or organizations in your community a platform to advertise the services they offer can aid in making a closer community. Using your local markets’ pumpkins for a pumpkin patch or a local cafe’s coffees and ciders can give them the opportunities to grow their businesses.
2.) Coat + Clothing Drives: A simple yet very effective project to execute is a coat and clothing drive for the colder months. Donations are put to good use in the community by providing for those who are less fortunate. Your student council can partner with local organizations to ensure that the drive goes smoothly. As you collect items, make sure that they’re clean, warm, and useful for those in need.
3.) Senior Citizen Volunteering:. As the holiday season slowly approaches, some senior citizens might feel alone or isolated without their families. They are an important yet overlooked part of our communities, and volunteering with them through your student council or other school clubs can make them feel valued and appreciated. Helping out at your local senior home is a great start, you could help plan bingo fundraisers or decades nights to make them feel more connected to their community!
Local heroes are the backbone of our communities, serving and safeguarding the well-being of all. These include healthcare professionals, social workers, law enforcement officers, and members of the armed forces, to name a few. Their tireless efforts, often amidst challenging circumstances, make it imperative that we express our gratitude for their service.
Here are three impactful ways YOU can demonstrate your support for our local heroes:
1 – Donate Essential Supplies – Contribute to the cause by donating essential supplies, such as pre-packaged snacks, personal care items, and more, to your chosen organization. Consider gathering much-needed items like hand sanitizers, masks, and gloves for healthcare facilities. Remember to contact your selected recipient beforehand to ensure they can accept these items.
2 – Assemble Heartfelt Care Packages – In addition to individual donations, you can craft thoughtful care packages to be delivered to specific organizations. These packages may include items like lip balms, lotions, hand sanitizers, an assortment of treats, disposable masks, hair ties, and protein bars.
3 – Express Gratitude – A simple act of kindness can brighten someone’s day. Offer a warm smile, speak kind words, and express your heartfelt appreciation to our local heroes. To go the extra mile, consider creating thank-you cards to convey your gratitude.
These service projects can be undertaken individually or collaboratively within your school’s or county’s student government association. Donations can be directed to nearby fire stations, law enforcement offices, hospitals, healthcare facilities, or the local Red Cross chapter. Let this month be a testament to our deep appreciation for those who tirelessly contribute to making our communities better—our local heroes!
Here are three ways you can make waves in your community through service:
1. Host a book drive: Having access to books is crucial for young people to thrive, and it’s always great to exercise your mind while school is out! A wonderful service project your SGA can execute is hosting a used-book drive for a local school, library, or daycare. Ensure books are age-appropriate and usable. Facilities will GREATLY appreciate your donations, and you can feel good knowing you gave an old book some new life! Click on this link to locate libraries near you: https://libraryfinder.org/
2. Fill some backpacks with love: For families who cannot afford new school supplies, back-to-school shopping can be a burden. Lend a helping hand by organizing or contributing to a backpack drive in your area. Many schools or local groups already organize similar drives, so reach out and see how your SGA can help collect supplies/funds! Below are a few Maryland/DC-based organizations that host supply drives to look into:
3. Beautify Your School’s Campus: A free and fun way to help students ease their way back into the swing of school this August is to organize a campus beautification project. Gather volunteers to pick up trash or clean up weeds/debris around your school so it is ready to go when the first day rolls around! Consider other ways to help like contacting the administration to paint murals, helping teachers move/set up classrooms, or creating encouraging school-pride banners to hang up. One study even found that campus beautification projects had positively impacted student behavior and academic performance!
Summer is a great time to explore your interests and surroundings through service projects! In July, let’s go beyond celebrating independence and spend time understanding our history and engaging with our community. Get ready to expand your knowledge and beat the heat with service this month!
Here are three ways YOU can give back and engage in service this July:
1.) Learn about our history: Celebrating our country’s independence this 4th of July also involves being mindful of the history of our nation. Educating yourself on the positive and negative aspects of our independence and the present-day impacts of America’s history can make Independence Day even more valuable and impactful. Plus, these topics can make for great, respectful discussions to learn more about one another’s views! Check out the articles below:
2.) Remember to give what you can: A great mindset to have all year is to give what you can. In the summer, many of us may have more time to act on this. When even small opportunities to help out locally come up, approach them with an open mind – your small donation of time or money is valuable not only to the organization/community you impact but also to building memorable experiences for yourself. Getting involved with your school or county SGA is also a great way to learn about new service opportunities. Another example is the organization Meals on Wheels, which accepts both donations and teen volunteers. (Meals On Wheels Website)
3.) Make Memories: Having fun experiences and staying safe this month and during the summer can easily impact your community and yourself! Always making an effort to put a smile on somebody’s face can easily make your day even brighter. National parks are home to many of the nation’s most beloved monuments, historic sites, hallowed grounds, and iconic landscapes. Celebrate Independence Day by finding a park, joining an event, reflecting on history, or enjoying the great outdoors! In addition, The Red Cross has a great guide for Fourth of July safety, and there are other articles that can educate you on staying safe as you have fun this summer: Red Cross Safety Guide.
Use this month to get more involved in your community and help turn it into a better place!
Summer is one of the most fun times of the year! Getting to go out and have fun with your friends in all the hang-out spots you couldn’t access during earlier seasons because of the weather or school. However, this isn’t all that summer has to be about. By going out and getting involved in service, you can help make someone else’s summer as positive of an experience as yours, and you might meet some inspiring people along the way.
Here are three ways YOU can service your community this summer:
1) Raising Awareness through Fundraising: Giving back to your community this summer can come in the form of raising money for various diseases that affect people daily. Fundraising doesn’t always have to be selling pizza or popcorn through a third-party source. You can get involved with programs like Alex’s Lemonade Stand to help raise money to help kids fight cancer. And if you want to organize your own fundraiser, you can participate in events like, “The longest day” from the Alzheimer’s Association, which allows you to choose your own form of fundraising on the selected day.
2) Take action in your community: Get out and get active! Many organizations have outdoor events that you and people in your community can take part in. Events like United Way Day of Action and the Great American Cleanup 2023 are great ways to get out and help unify and beautify your community.
3) Have fun!: There are many events you can take part in that allow you to have fun this summer while still being involved in service. You can organize fun events in your area to bring your community together for a good time or take part in events like the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson.
To sum it all up, you and/or your school/regional SGA can organize events to help create the best summer ever while simultaneously giving back to your community. Get out, take action, and most importantly, have fun!
Animal welfare is an important issue that has gained increasing attention in recent years with many organizations and individuals advocating for the protection and humane treatment of animals. From domesticated pets to wildlife, animals play crucial roles in our lives and the environment, and it is our responsibility to ensure that they are treated with respect and compassion.
Here are four ways YOU can support the welfare of animals:
1) Educate your peers: One of the most important things students and school SGAs can do to support animal welfare is to educate others about the issue. This can include organizing presentations, workshops, and events that raise awareness about animal welfare and promote responsible pet ownership.
2) Volunteer at animal shelters: Animal shelters often rely on volunteers to help care for the animals, clean their living spaces, and provide socialization and exercise. Volunteer at a local animal shelter to learn about animal welfare and to make a difference in the lives of animals.
3) Fundraise for animal welfare organizations: Animal welfare organizations often need funds to support their operations, such as providing medical care, food, and shelter for animals. Organize fundraisers, such as bake sales, car washes, or charity walks, to support these organizations.
4) Promote animal-friendly practices: Schools can adopt animal-friendly practices, such as using cruelty-free cleaning products and providing recycling bins for pet waste on school grounds or in the community. Advocate for these practices and work with school administrators to implement them.
In conclusion, students and school/regional SGAs can play an important role in promoting animal welfare and improving the lives of animals in their communities. By educating their peers, volunteering at animal shelters, fundraising for animal welfare organizations, and promoting animal-friendly practices, students and SGAs can make a positive impact on the world around them.
April is Global Volunteer Month, so this month is a great time to recognize volunteers. Use this month to promote service in your community.
Here are three ways YOU can celebrate Global Volunteer Month:
1) Appreciate Current Volunteers – Find a local organization that helps your community and shows their volunteers that you appreciate them. Talk with the leader of an organization and find a way to recognize their volunteers. Some ideas are sending thank you cards, making a meal for them, or making the organization a care package.
2) Recruit New Volunteers or Volunteer Yourself – If you volunteer for an organization already, encourage your friends and family to join you in volunteering. This can be a great way to recruit new volunteers for your organization. If you do not already volunteer, use this month to explore new volunteering opportunities. Research organizations in your community, and make a plan to volunteer this month.
3) Promote the Importance of Volunteering – Promoting volunteering can be a great way to participate in community service. Learn about why volunteering is important in your community or research volunteer opportunities. Make a post on social media or spread the word in your school about what you learned about volunteering.
These are just a few ways YOU celebrate Global Volunteer Month. Use this month to recognize the work of volunteers and promote service in your community.
The spring season starts in March, so this month is a great opportunity to enjoy the spring weather and volunteer. Use this month to get outside and help your community. Here are three ways YOU can volunteer this spring:
1) Organize a Clean-Up and Beautification Project – After the winter season, many areas need sprucing up. Some ways you can help do this are jobs like weeding, raking, and mowing. Contact a park, help a neighbor, or organize an outdoor clean-up at your school. Also, you can talk with community members or your principal or school board to encourage the planting of new plants and trees in your community once you have cleaned up an area.
2) Hold a Bike & Outdoor Toy Drive – This spring, hold a drive for used bikes or new or gently used outdoor toys and equipment. This can be a great way to give children in your community fun ways to get outside this spring. Donate them to an organization that helps children in need or a local elementary school.
3) Have a Spring Cleaning – Spring is a great time for a fresh start. This spring as you clean out your closet or house. Find gently used items that you do not use anymore and donate them to a local thrift shop or community organization.
These are just a few ways YOU volunteer this spring. Use this season as the weather warms up to give back to your community.
Black History Month is an annual celebration of the accomplishments and contributions of African Americans to the advancement of the United States and the global community. It is an opportunity to honor the legacy of African Americans and to recognize the progress that has been made in advancing racial equality. As an individual, there are a number of ways to honor Black History Month, from supporting black-owned businesses to donating to local black non-profits and attending Black History Month events.
Here are three ways YOU can celebrate Black History Month:
1 – Support Black Owned Businesses
One of the most impactful ways to honor Black History Month is to support black-owned businesses. In today’s world, the economic gap between black and white Americans is still significant, and one of the best ways to bridge this gap is to invest in businesses owned by African Americans. By patronizing black-owned businesses, individuals can show their support for African American-led initiatives and help to create a more equitable economic playing field. Not only is this a tangible way to honor Black History Month, but it also helps to ensure that African American businesses are able to stay afloat and continue to contribute to the economy.
2 – Donating to local black nonprofits
Individuals can honor Black History Month by donating to local black non-profits. Nonprofits are essential for creating and sustaining a vibrant African American community, offering services such as job training, education, housing assistance, and more. By donating to a black-run non-profit, individuals can show their support for African American initiatives and help to ensure that these organizations are able to continue their important work.
3 – Attending Black History Month events
Finally, individuals can attend Black History Month events. These events, which can range from community celebrations to lectures and film screenings, are a great way to learn more about African American history and culture while celebrating the achievements of African American individuals. By attending Black History Month events, individuals can honor the legacy of African Americans while also engaging in meaningful conversations about the progress that has been made and the work that still needs to be done in order to achieve racial equality.
These are just a few ways to participate in Black History Month. As an individual, it is essential to use this month as an opportunity to recognize the progress that has been made in advancing racial equality and to show support for African American initiatives.
The New Year is a great time to form new habits. This new year make a resolution to give back to your community. Set goals for how you want to give back for the entire year. Through volunteering and donating, you can make an impact throughout the year.
Here are three ways YOU can help out this new year:
1 Donate Items from your Home – A common New Year’s Resolution is to organize. This new year, find items around your house that you do not use anymore and are still in good condition. Examples can be clothes, books, and furniture. Donate these items to a local shelter, habitat for humanity, or a thrift store that helps the community. This is a great way to donate to others that may need these items.
2 Volunteer with a New Organization – This new year, find more ways to give back. Whether you already volunteer in your community or you are looking for ideas, partnering with an organization you have never worked with before is a great way to further your impact in the community. Do the research and think about the skills you already have, or that you want to develop in the new year, and find a way to use them to help the community.
3 Plan to Serve Throughout the Year – This new year, make a plan to do service throughout the year. Whether that is helping with a project you have been interested in, making a goal to volunteer monthly, or leading a service project. Set goals for service so you can do what you can to volunteer in the community this year.
These are all great ideas you can do individually or collectively within your school or county’s SGAs. Use this month to set goals and form new habits for service throughout the year!
The holidays are about sharing, compassion, and showing your appreciation for others. Use this season of giving to help out those in your community. Many families in unfortunate situations can not afford to purchase their own holiday goods. Through volunteering and donating, you can improve the holiday season and transform your community into a happier place. Let’s make the holidays special for everyone!
Here are three ways YOU can help out during the holiday season:
1 – Donate goods
This includes donating goods like canned food, deserts, etc… to your organization of choice. You can also seek to collect non-food-related items for donation. An example of this includes hats, scarves, gloves, etc… Other items you can collect would be toys/presents for children. Many organizations like Toys for Tots will collect these and donate them to a family in need.
2 – Support Your Community
As you go gift shopping for your family and friends, consider who you are purchasing from. Are you mainly purchasing from larger businesses like Amazon or Walmart? If so, try switching it up and buy items from small businesses and local shops. This allows you to support members of your community by boosting the sales of small business owners. Also try to purchase from organizations that support good, charitable causes like helping endangered animals, supporting the homeless, or improving the living conditions of families in high-poverty areas.
3 – Spread the Cheer
Smile, be kind, and spread joy to those around you. Tell people how thankful you are for them and how important they are. Offer to pay for the food of someone behind you in a drive-through and tip slightly extra at restaurants. These are easy ways to make someone’s day and contribute to a happier environment. If you want to take the extra mile, you can make holiday cards and give them to people you appreciate like doctors, teachers, firefighters, etc…
These are all great ideas you can do individually or collectively within your school’s/county’s SGA’s. Be sure to help out those in need this holiday season!
Veterans Day is November 11, and it is a nationally observed holiday for honoring military veterans of the United States. This month is a great time to show veterans you appreciate them. A veteran is someone who previously served in the military. Below are ways YOU can honor veterans
1 – Make Care Packages or Cards
To show your appreciation, you can assemble care packages for them. Some ideas of what you can put inside are candies, snacks, gift cards, activities, a blanket, or other items.. You can also make cards for veterans. This is an easy way that everyone in your council can participate to show their appreciation. If making packages of cards for a special group like veterans in a long-term care facility, call ahead to see how many veterans they have so you can ensure you make enough.
2 – Organize a Veterans Day Ceremony or visit veterans
A common way to show appreciation to veterans on Veterans Day is to organize a ceremony. If your school already does a ceremony and the student council does not organize it, contact the club that does and see how you can help. They may want you to either donate something or volunteer to help. If your school does not have a ceremony, talk to your advisor and administration about inviting veterans to school for a small ceremony. You could even include other clubs like band/chorus or art classes to help out! Individually, on veterans day you could go to a veterans hospital or long-term care facility and visit veterans and thank them for their service. Make sure to check with the facility before going.
You can show appreciation by learning about what veterans have done for this county. Talk with a veteran in your family, a family friend, or in your neighborhood about their service. You can also donate money to national or local veteran organizations. Some example organizations are the Wounded Warrior Project, a local American Legion, or Homes for Our Troops.
These are all great ideas you can do individually or collectively within your school or county student councils. Use this month to show veterans that you appreciate their service to our country!
During the month of October, MASC encourages school/regional student councils and individuals to support those with, and those who have loved ones with, terminal or chronic illnesses. Some terminal and chronic illnesses are cancer, advanced heart disease, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and many more. People with these illnesses often spend a lot of time in the hospital and often experience loneliness and stress.
1 – Hold a Fundraiser for a cause
Pick an illness you would like to support and pick an organization that collects funds to help. This could be your local hospice or a local organization that supports cancer patients. Or, it could be national organizations like the American Heart Association or The ALS Foundation for Life. So examples of fundraisers could be a hat or pajama day where everyone pays $1 to wear it, selling tee-shirts that support the cause, or possibly a Penny War.
2 – Showing Patients you Support Them
To show patients with a chronic or terminal illness that they are not alone you can spend time with them to show that you support them. You could go to a local hospital or clinic and play music for patients, play a game with them, do a craft with them, or make cards for people in hospitals or clinics. Make sure to check with the hospital or clinic about what they allow before you go.
3 – Raise Awareness
Raising awareness about an illness is a great way to show patients that you support them. You can wear the colors of the illness or a ribbon, or you can post on social media to show support for an illness. You can also attend a Relay for Life, color run, walk-a-thon, sports game, or any other event that is raising awareness for the cause. Lastly, you could learn more about the illness so you know what patients are going through.
These are all great ideas you can do individually or collectively within your school or county student councils. Some more ideas of national organizations are The American Cancer Society, The Alzheimer’s Association, or the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Use this month to show those with chronic or terminal illnesses that you support them!
Frontline workers are those who provide a service to the general public. This includes health care workers, social workers, law enforcement, armed forces, etc. Their jobs are often laborious and occasionally dangerous, which is why it is so important we show our appreciation for our frontline workers.
Below are three ways YOU can show support for our frontline workers:
This includes donating edible goods like pre-packaged candies, sweets, meals, etc… to your organization of choice. You can also seek to collect highly needed items for donation. An example of this includes goods like hand sanitizer, mask, and gloves to donate to healthcare facilities. Be sure to call who you plan to donate to beforehand to ensure they will accept these goods.
2 – Assemble care packages
Similar to donating individual goods, you can assemble care packages to donate to certain organizations. Inside of these care packages you can put items like lip balms, lotions, hand sanitizers, assorted candies, disposable masks, hair ties, and protein bars.
3 – Just say thank you