'Tis the season! With Thanksgiving and the winter holidays around the corner, it's a good time to get middle level students thinking beyond their own holiday wish list to consider how they can make someone else's season a little brighter.
Because of age requirements, it sometimes can be hard for middle level students to find holiday service opportunities with organizations like soup kitchens. But over the years, many middle level volunteers honored by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards have found meaningful ways to help out over the holidays—gestures that ranged from community campaigns to singing carols at a nursing home. Here are a few examples of student projects:
Holidays for the homeless
(Bethel Middle School, Arkansas) used Christmas gift money to rent a plot in his church's community garden, and then grew vegetables that he sold to benefit a local shelter for working homeless families.
Lia Haile (Stangel Elementary School, Wisconsin) created a community club that helps her provide gifts, celebrations, and holiday events to kids and families at a local homeless shelter.
Arin Dorsey (Fayetteville High School, West Virginia) organized a "Milk and Cookies with Santa" event to entertain local children and solicit toy and monetary donations for the homeless.
Greetings for the troops
Amelia Myre (Alice Deal Middle School, District of Columbia), a volunteer at Walter Reed Bethesda National Military Medical Center, bought gifts for the patients there and handed them out during a Christmas party.
Jessica Benson (West Middle School, South Dakota) makes, collects, and distributes holiday cards for active military members and veterans.
Hannah Button (Trinity Lutheran School, Hawaii) started a project to provide holiday gifts to sick and injured soldiers and their families.
Spread warmth and good cheer
Alec Elffner (Hiawatha Middle School, Kansas) collected winter coats for many years for young people whose families can't afford them.
Anna Murphy (Stafford Elementary School, Connecticut) organized a penny drive that raised thousands of dollars to help local families heat their homes during the winter.
Ciara Laird (New Life Christian Academy, Alabama) volunteered at a local nursing home and sang Christmas carols to the residents.
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals, honors youth volunteers in grades 5-12 for making meaningful contributions to their communities through volunteer service. Applications for 2017 awards close at 11:59 p.m. CST today, November 8; principals and heads of participating organizations have a few more weeks to certify applications for state-level judging. Learn more at http://spirit.prudential.com.