Community service is a major component of FBLA. One of the main goals in our state Program of Work is to create and maintain a high level of community service throughout the state. We encourage all local chapters to provide community service to members of their community.
At the state level, Wisconsin FBLA is working with the March of Dimes and beginning to work with America Saves. FBLA continues to be the largest contributor to the March of Dimes, as it works to prevent premature births and help families with babies that are born prematurely. America Saves is a new program that works to inform people of the value of saving. This program helps people develop smart savings plans and helps them to become more financially secure.
Please encourage all FBLA members to become active in their community. We want FBLA to benefit its members and communities. By providing community service, we share more about what our organization is about. We challenge each of you to work with your local community members to make it a better place for everyone to live.
One way for your chapter to be recognized for all the great things it does to give back to its school and community is to apply for both the Regional and State Community Service Award. These awards will be awarded during the Closing Session at Regional and State Leadership Conferences.
A Million Thanks
A Million Thanks is an organization committed to showing appreciation to U.S. Military Men and Women for their dedication and sacrifice. Sponsor a day to have members of your chapter and school send thank you letters to our troops. Check out http://amillionthanks.org/ for more information, guidelines, and instructions for sending letters.
Have you ever seen those signs on the side of the road that say, "Adopt-A-Highway Sponsor," and include an organization or family member's name? Becoming an Adopt-A-Highway sponsor is not as hard as it seems. As a highway sponsor, you are required to pick up trash along your highway at least twice a year. The best times to clean your highway are in the fall and spring. To get your members excited about doing this, offer an incentive in combination with this activity. For example, arrange for your organization to cover the cost of breakfast for your group to meet at a local restaurant. For more information, visit the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Adopt-A-Highway Program website.
Big Brothers Big Sisters
Big Brothers, Big Sisters (BBBS) is one of the oldest mentorship programs in the Nation. BBBS arranges for young children to be paired with an older “Brother or Sister” to help build better relationships and brighter futures. Contact your local BBBS Chapter for more information.
BloodCenter of Wisconsin Blood Drives
Hosting a community blood drive is a great way to bring everyone together to help others in need. Half of the blood distributed by BloodCenter is collected at one of the 12 centers throughout the state, but the rest is collected from local blood drives hosted by organizations such as FBLA. Depending on the available space and other considerations, BloodCenter can hold a drive inside your school or on their bloodmobile bus. BloodCenter will also provide you with checklists, posters, table tents and other materials to aid you in planning and advertising your blood drive, and the BloodCenter staff is always available to help you through the process if you need assistance. For more information on how to host a blood drive through BloodCenter of Wisconsin, call: 1-877-BE-A-HERO (1-877-232-4376) or visit https://www.bcw.edu/bcw/Blood-Donation/host-a-drive/index.htm.
An easy way to help out your community is to offer assistance to those who already do! Fire departments and rescue squads across America are constantly in need of supplies like blankets. Try dedicating one of your meetings to making or gathering supplies for a no-sew blanket. For directions to make no-sew blankets, visit: http://www.mystuffbags.org/how-to-help/make-a-blanket/
If your chapter is full of members that love to sing, you can take them Christmas caroling at a local nursing home. Residents of the nursing home will love to see today's youth getting involved in their community. If this is not an option for your chapter, you can simply gather members and go caroling around your community. Once you have finished caroling, you could even meet at somebody's house for hot chocolate, hot apple cider, and cookies.
As an FBLA chapter, cook dinner for elderly people in your community who may spend the holidays alone. Also, you can volunteer at a food pantry, or local church, to serve the less fortunate members of your community. You can go one step further and deliver the meals to families with the Meals on Wheels organization as well.
Hosting a clean up is a great way to provide a service without having to spend money. Choose a day for your FBLA chapter to go out to your community and pick up trash in a city park or along the highway. This is an easy, free way to help out your community!
According to the American Cancer Society, the daffodil represents hope and renewal. This is why each year they sell daffodils to help fund research to one day end cancer. Daffodil days is a simple fundraiser that any chapter can start because it just requires an order form and a little effort to raise awareness about this fundraiser. The daffodils are sold by bunches of ten to a case of 500! You can even send a gift of hope, which is ten daffodils in a vase delivered anonymously to a cancer patient. To find out more information, visit: http://www.cancer.org/involved/participate/daffodildays/
Deck the House
There are many families in need year round but the Christmas season is especially a hard time for some. A very simple way to help is to find a family in need in your community and collect different Christmas decorations and gifts to give them. Then, as a chapter, take a night and go decorate their house. This simple act will be greatly appreciated throughout your community.
Does it seem like you are always having food drives? Try something new: collect new or gently used toys, clothes, or blankets. Another idea is to have a toiletry item drive. This is a good idea for FBLA chapters because most everyone has something they can donate and it is a change from the typical food drive.
Easter Egg Hunt
This is a fun activity to do with first or second graders. All you have to do is collect about 1,000 + plastic Easter eggs to fill with candy or little prizes. To collect eggs, have your members bring in plastic eggs for small little rewards, so that they get something out of it. Next, have an officer or member fill all the eggs with candy. On one day in March, have a group of members go to the elementary school, hide all the eggs, and then let all the children go out and find them. As an added bonus, have a member who is willing dress-up as the Easter bunny, but the trick is that they can’t talk. Have fun with this, and happy hunting.
Do a little research in your area to locate any emergency shelters. Contact them to find out what they need. Then, have a food drive, clothing drive, or toiletry item drive to benefit that emergency shelter.
Holding a food drive is one of the most common ways schools help out agencies in their community. It is easy: just publicize your event, put out boxes to collect food, and arrange for it to be transported to a deserved agency.
Habitat For Humanity
Teaming up with Habitat for Humanity is a great way to help others and bring your chapter together. Habitat projects typically include constructing new houses for families in need, but there are also other projects that don’t require building such as landscaping. All you need to do to get started is contact your local Habitat for Humanity Affiliate. Please note that all participants must be at least 16 years old. To get more information, simply use the search option on the following website: http://www.habitat.org/cd/local/default.aspx?r=r, or to find all locations in Wisconsin, follow the subsequent link: http://www.habitat.org/cd/local/affiliate.aspx?place=55.
Host a Pageant
I think we've all seen the Miss America pageant on TV, or something close to it. Have you ever thought about hosting your own pageant? Hosting a pageant is a great way to showcase the talents of your members. Hosting a pageant is a great way to achieve name recognition in the community. You may ask businesses to donate prizes or their time to judge your pageant. Hosting a pageant is simple when you inspire members to become involved, so you should have no problem finding people to compete in the pageant. To make this a successful pageant, make sure that you promote your pageant as much as you can, and invite the community. For more ideas, please talk with your adviser about ways to help in YOUR community, or read the community service ideas guide prepared by the FBLA State Leadership Team.
The Humane Society
The Humane Society is a great way to get involved in your community. An easy way to get started is by contacting your local humane society to ask what they need for their shelter. Ideas include collecting pet toys, food or donations to help support their cause. If your chapter would prefer to give services rather than goods, try and get a group of members together and volunteer at your local humane society. For info about your local humane society, visit the following link http://www.wihumane.org/default.aspx or email a humane society employee at email@example.com.
Local Blood Drive
Blood is always in high demand, so a good way to benefit the community is to organize a local blood drive. All you have to do is contact the American Red Cross, and they will help you set one up. Make sure you advertise it well, and let people know that this is an excellent cause that will help save lives. For more information about supporting the American Red Cross, visit http://www.redcross.org/support.
Meals On Wheels
Meals-On-Wheels and other senior meal delivery programs provide meals to millions of seniors throughout the United States. Through such programs, seniors who do not have access to meals for lack of mobility, funds, or ability, are able to eat properly and are provided with services that help them live a healthy and enjoyable life. Each meal provides approximately 1/3 of a seniors’ daily nutritional value. To volunteer with Meals on Wheels or a similar service organization, visit: http://mealcall.org/us/volunteer/.
Volunteer at a local nursing home to play bingo with residents. Although this idea seems very simple, people who live in nursing/elderly homes are often times lonely. Even just spending a little time with an elderly person can help to brighten their day and bring a little hope into their lives. Besides bingo, FBLA members could also read to residents, assist them with gift-wrapping during the holidays, or even just go for a few minutes to visit.
Operation Christmas Child
Every year, Operation Christmas Child collects shoe boxes that are filled with everything from toys to toothpaste. All of these boxes are sent to less fortunate children from ages 2-14. If you are interested in filling a shoe box, visit http://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/ to learn more.
Instill some friendly competition in your school with a penny war. Divide up by grade, by homeroom, or floor. Then, have everyone bring in pennies for their specified group. If nickels are dropped into one group’s bucket, then 5 pennies are subtracted from that group’s total. Whoever ends up with the most money in their bucket minus the nickels, dimes, or quarters, earns a surprise (pizza party, free pencils, etc). Then, donate all of the money raised to a local food pantry or agency in need.
Pink Yoplait Lids
You may have seen pink lids on Yoplait yogurt containers. If you are interested in collecting lids as a chapter it’s very easy. All you need are a few collection boxes that you can put in your adviser’s room, the office, teacher’s lounge, or other places that many people visit at school. Next, you can put posters up in the hallway, make announcements, or other creative means to spread word about your efforts. Visit https://friendsinthefight.yoplait.com/#have-questions for more information about the program.
A great way to get involved within your school and community is by going to local playgrounds and simply cleaning up. You could offer to paint over playground equipment or pick up the garbage around the playground. You could also talk to a local landscaping business to donate new rock or wood chips for around the equipment.
Roots and Shoots
Roots and Shoots is a faction of the Jane Goodall Institute. The main focus is to better the environment and community. Students can join the organization and promote a campaign. Examples of campaigns include: Trees for Tomorrow, Reusable Bag Campaign, and Roots & Shoots Day of Peace. To contact or learn more information about Roots and Shoots, visit http://www.rootsandshoots.org/.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army does wonderful things for people in need everyday. Because of this, they are in need of volunteers year round. Whether it is painting pumpkins with those using Salvation Army services or ringing bells during the holiday season for the Red Kettle Campaign, any bit of help is always greatly appreciated. To get more info about how and where to help, visit www.salvationarmyusa.org.
Contact local elementary school teachers and offer to help some of the younger children write their letters to Santa Claus near Christmas time. Be sure to have the children write their home address on the letter so “Santa” can answer back! Once the letters are finished be sure to put them in a “mailbox” to send directly to the North Pole. After all of the letters have been mailed, collect the box, and then at an after-school FBLA meeting have each member personally answer a child’s letter. One member should sign all of the letters as Santa Claus and you should also designate a couple elves to proofread the letters, stuff envelopes and put addresses and postage on the envelopes. Be sure that every child that wrote a letter gets a response and make sure that “Santa” doesn’t promise any presents! You can make this a fun social activity for your chapter by having snacks and drinks during the meeting too. For more ideas, visit the United States Postal Service Santa Mail website at http://about.usps.com/news/electronic-press-kits/holidaynews/2014/holiday_santa.htm.
Thanksgiving Food Drive Competition
The purpose of the Thanksgiving Food Drive Competition is to raise money and meal items for the local food pantry for the upcoming holiday season. Each homeroom (could be combined by grade level, such as seniors, juniors, etc.) is given boxes for donations and asked to bring in as much as possible. The number of food items is totaled and the winning class of each grade level receives donuts and milk at the conclusion of the drive.
- Contact the local food pantry. Ask for a list of which items they need the most and when they would like the food delivered.
- Get at least two large boxes and several grocery bags for each class and label these with the name of the homeroom teacher. Have FBLA members distribute these on the first day, explain the competition, and give out a list of Bonus items (what the food pantry currently needs). Explain that each item is worth one point and one bonus item is worth two points. Cash is worth no points but it is greatly appreciated.
- Have a daily announcement promoting the Food Drive.
- On the last day, have the FBLA members collect the items, money, and tally the food items. Next, have the seniors, and anyone with a free first hour, help deliver the food to the pantry.
Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF
Do you think that going trick-or-treating is just for little kids? Well, not anymore. You and your friends can get dressed-up in costumes each Halloween, and go trick-or-treating for money, and maybe some candy too. The best part is that all the money raised goes to under-privileged children in third-world countries. Each year, UNICEF helps children in 156 different countries get health care, clean water, nutrition and education to children and their families. Just one dollar could help immunize a child against polio, so if you are interested in going trick-or-treating, visit https://www.unicefusa.org/trick-or-treat.
Provide a service to your own school! Begin a tutoring program helping freshmen and sophomores with their schoolwork. This way, you are not only doing community service but the benefits can be seen right in your own school!