Encourage kids to volunteer early
There are many options for teens to complete the compulsory 40 hours of community involvement for high school graduation – from boxing up groceries at a local food bank to planting trees. As one parent says, “It’s easy for kids to do, especially if they just do 10 hours a year, over the four years of high school.”
Both her kids finished their 40 hours in Grade 9 by combining a variety of activities including working with the local food drive through their church, participating in apple day with the Scouts, helping with a children’s after-school program, and raising awareness with an environment group.
The 40 hours of community service has been a requirement for an Ontario Secondary School Diploma since 1999-2000. Activities must be volunteer and not for pay or credit. The purpose is reinforce students’ civic responsibility, strengthen the community, enhance their self-confidence, offer networking for future employment and provide experiences for students to include in their portfolios.
The work can begin in Grade 9. These activities must be completed outside class time, such as lunch breaks, after school, weekends, holidays and summer months.
Your teen’s school has information on the program, and can answer many questions about activities and how to keep track of the hours.
Here are some suggestions:
Tutor a younger student with reading, helping with homework or assist with literacy initiatives at your local library, day care centre or community centre; help organize local community events such as a food drive or pack groceries at a food bank; take part in environmental initiatives such as cleaning and recycling operations, park cleanup, planting trees and flower beds; get involved in charitable activities such as walk-a-thons or canvassing for organizations; volunteer in hospitals, libraries, senior’s centre or any organization such as the United Way or the Humane Society.
For more information:
Halton District School Board
Hamilton Public Library
For links to many volunteer organizations in Hamilton, Volunteer Services, Hamilton
For links to many volunteer organizations in Toronto, Volunteer Services, Toronto
Toronto District School Board
YMCA of Greater Toronto
416-928-9622 or 1-800-223-8024