4 Reasons We Do Middle School Service Projects
March 18, 2019
Let’s face it. Middle schoolers are presented with more options every day. Which electives? Drama club or student council? Soccer or hockey? All of the above? As life gets busy, there are seemingly infinite ways for a middle schooler to spend their days. So why spend one of them at church doing a service project? Here are 4 good reasons.
It makes kids more aware
In a world of hunched shoulders over small screens, awareness of others is more and more necessary. Awareness of others, of the outside world, and awareness of a different daily situation than they’re used to, it’s all important. We can’t always meet the people we serve, but doing these projects forces us to think and talk about the lives others live. This sets kids up to process more immediate and complex problems as they get older.
It connects faith to the rest of life
It’s meaningful. There are people who don’t have anyone showing or telling them, “You’re valuable, you are important,” and we can do that for them. If not by our words, then by our actions that we take to reach out to them. It’s a form of true love, and the core of our faith. When we reach out to others, we are acting out what we believe.
It empowers students as a team
Middle schoolers get told what to do all day, but they are slowly exercising their ability to choose and experience the consequences of their actions. Service projects empower students by teaching them that their choices can create good where it wasn’t before. It’s a way for students to begin using the responsibility and cooperation skills they will need for the rest of their lives.
It increases self-confidence
Some kids are naturally outgoing, while others are shy and nervous about meeting new people. Service is a way to practice social skills in a low-pressure environment. The project gives everyone a topic of conversation, and the longer, not-in-class event gives kids time to open up. It’s a great opportunity to increase social self-confidence and meet new friends.
This is why St. Patrick’s has Reach Out, a mash-up day of service and fun for middle schoolers. Some service projects are energizing, but some are just plain hard work, and this is why we always include a pure-fun element. Middle schoolers are still kids, and we want them to leave on a high note. Knowing they accomplished something good and had fun with friends is exactly the tone we’re striking.