Help your older kids and teens plug into a community of service this Valentine’s Day.
by Heidi Indahl
Are you familiar with DoSomething.org? Do Something is a social justice site for young people by young people. It is basically a social media community to organize campaigns in areas of need identified by the participants. Recycling clothing, birthday cards for homeless kids, and even tech support for seniors are among the wide variety of opportunities for young people to make connections through service. Some of the campaigns are location specific, but most encourage action in the person’s own community.
With Valentine’s Day approaching, the campaign that caught my eye is the Love Letters drive to send Valentine’s Day cards to older members of your community. By registering through the site, I was provided with education about the problem (older adult isolation), information on connecting with a local meals-on-wheels site to have the cards delivered, and tips for making cards (writing clearly and in large print). If I come back when I am finished and provide “proof” of my service (by uploading photos), the number of cards I made, and a brief reflection (always an important step in meaningful service learning) I can be entered to win a $5,000 scholarship.
As always, be sure to check out the site before using it with your young people. The campaigns are organized by teens of all backgrounds, and some of them bring up sticky moral issues. Don’t be scared away, though, because there are many, many non-objectionable campaigns to participate in. Plus, I’m a big believer that older children and teens should talk about these things in their home first and often, because our culture is going to write a narrative for them regardless, and it isn’t going to be the Catholic edition!
Even if you say no thank you to a particular event, there is good to be had here . . . and who knows, maybe your son or daughter will be inspired to start their own campaign.
Disclaimer: I have no relationship with DoSomething.org and parents should use their own judgement in evaluating if this site is appropriate for their family.