Children of parents who talk to their teens regularly about drugs are 42% less likely to use drugs than those who don't, yet only a quarter of teens report having these conversations.

Helping Others

Objective
To develop an understanding of the importance of helping people, especially younger children.

Background
Children in grades 4-6 want to be helpful. They demonstrate this in school by responding to teachers and rules and showing interest in schoolwork, and at home by helping younger siblings. At this age level, it is important for children to develop a commitment to helping others. One way to instill the importance of volunteering in the community is to encourage children in grades 4-6 to help children in grades K-3 adjust to school and schoolwork, learn new recreation skills, develop friendships, and experiment in art and music. At this age level, children respond to praise about being helpful, and their volunteer experiences enhance their feelings of self-confidence.

Activities
In cooperation with other teachers in the building, develop a pool of volunteers in grades 4-6 to help younger students. Explain to these students that they can help the younger ones with school work such as reading or math; show them how to use the library; assist in music lessons or arts and crafts; teach them a new game or sport; or be a "big brother" or "big sister. "

Allow studel1ts to select the activity they would like to help with. Establish a schedule for volunteering (for example, once a week or two afternoons a week after school).

Once the projects are under way, meet periodically with volunteers to assess what they are doing and how it affects them and the students they are helping. Ask for their suggestions on ways to improve their volunteering experience or for other project ideas.

At the end of a term (or year) give each volunteer a merit badge or certificate congratulating them on their service. Offer extra academic credit for volunteering or arrange a school ceremony honoring the volunteers.

Resources
A group of teachers willing to oversee student volunteering projects; a list of volunteering ideas; certificate of apperciation.

Teacher Tips
• Create a list of volunteering possibilities with other teachers.

• Encourage all students who want to participate in the volunteering project to do so.

• Make sure teachers or other adults supervise the volunteer activity so that it proves worthwhile for both volunteers and younger students.

Source
Learning to Live Drug-Free, A Curriculum Model for Prevention, U.S. Department of Education's Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program

2490 Coral Way, Miami, FL 33145 | Phone: 800-705-8997

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