Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day: Get the Kids Involved

I remember making posters in elementary school: stop littering, stop drop and roll, stop forest fires, stop smoking...stop, stop, STOP!! I joined the Animal Protection Institute and circulated an annoying number of petitions: stop bashing the brains out of baby harp seals, stop slaughtering whales, stop leaving your cat or dog in a hot car on a hot day (now we need to remind folks to stop leaving their babies in hot cars on hot days)...stop, stop, STOP! I trick-or-treated for UNICEF; I walked for the March of Dimes. Stop hunger. Stop birth defects. I could never understand why CARE wouldn't take "care packages" of leftover food (usually liver and broccoli) that I wanted to send them, but my parents said, "Stop!"

We were anti-litter, anti-fire, anti-animal cruelty, anti-hunting - but what were we for, really? I'll tell you - we were all for annoying our parents and we all wanted the Indian guy to stop crying. We were for cute, furry animals like kitties and puppies and baby harp seals, and we were for cool sea creatures like whales. By making posters and circulating petitions and walking for our chosen causes, we were getting involved. We were helping to save the world. And that felt good.

I wrote, yesterday, on importance of feeling like a useful, needed member of the family. It's also important to give children a sense of connection to their community - a community that can be as small as their neighborhood block or as large as the entire world. What better way to do that than to teach them to care for the planet that sustains us?

A good source of environmental information for kids is National Geographic Kids. Their list of "green tips" to conserve resources is an easy way to involve even the youngest family members in making meaningful changes that really can help save the world (or at least make it a better place). Need more ideas? The Green Guide for Kids is a great resource that shows how kids around the world can make - and are making - a real difference. Here are a few other sites that focus on getting kids involved in a good cause:

Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and faith-based organizations are also good ways to get kids started in community service projects. What are some of the ways you encourage your children to be more active in the community?

3 comments:

  1. I'm a member of a committee planning a book festival next year to raise awareness of literacy, give authors and the public an opportunity to connect (without costing anyone an arm and a leg), and to provide a reading room for children to hear books and sessions for people to learn more about books and writing.

    We are using volunteers as room monitors, to help with loading and unloading, to give directions, and to monitor the halls. The boy scouts are going to be involved, some athletes from local schools (even my grandsons since some of the readers will be some sports celebrities - more volunteerism).

    Authors will be appearing at schools the day before the book fest, speaking with students - volunteering. Some inspirational writers will speak at churches the day after the book fest - all volunteers.

    Volunteerism can be found in many guises, all which make our world a better place. Oh, the committee is also volunteers.

    Anyone interested in knowing more about the book festival (people from everywhere are invited to participate) can visit the Heartland New Day BookFest website: http://hndbookfest.com

    Recent blog post: Being Jacob: First Day of School trailer

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  2. I am hoping to find a way to come to this book festival, Viv. It looks terrific, and there has already been so much planning put into it that it is bound to be fun and educational for everyone.

    It can be really hard for kids to find meaningful opportunities to do volunteeer work. Scouting's a good way to get involved, because they work very hard at encouraging (requiring) volunteerism and helping to find or make opportunities for kids to help out. I'm so glad to hear that kids will be welcome volunteers at the book festival.

    Recent blog post: Earth Day: Get the Kids Involved

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  3. I will check out the resources you have listed for getting my kids interested in participating in Earth Day. They had some participation already in school, though probably not enough. I remember making posters for everything in school too. In fact, I made a poster image for Earth Day this year and I am giving the image away on my blog.

    Recent blog post: Earth Day Design

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