Continuing on this school supplies trend of service projects! We’ve already talked about one way to donate school supplies (through backpack kits or donations). This next one focuses more on the collection aspect than on the donating aspect (how to get the supplies, as opposed to where to donate them).
Part 2 - Stuff a Bus
For those who have never experienced a stuff a bus program, the concept is simple: stuff a bus full of goodies and materials, and then drive to the donation center to drop off all your donated goods!
Simple, right? Although the planning may take some time, the concept is cute and especially relevant to school supplies (especially if you find a school bus)!
Stuff a bus programs are especially effective for large scale donations (and this applies to any kind of “collection” type service project, from school supplies to blankets to canned food). It’s a really effective way to garner some publicity while encouraging others to do their part.
The best thing about school supplies is that, during this time, they are (1) cheap and (2) easily bought in bulk. And remember, in stuffing a bus, every bit counts. Even if every member in your class can only buy one pack of crayons, that # more crayons than you would have had.
Below are some of the planning steps you will need:
1) Look for a school that will take supplies
A bus-load of supplies is a butt-ton of supplies. Definitely make sure you have a school that can take all your supplies. Schools that always need materials are (1) inner city schools or (2) very large schools, like schools that are joint middle and high schools. Not only will they need a large variety of things, but they will need a TON of them. Schools that have an overflow of students (and don’t get much funding from their city/county/state) are also ideal locations.
2) Renting or using a donated (like borrowed-donated) bus
Obviously, if you have a stuff-a-bus event, you will need a bus to stuff. Many schools may be up for donating a bus for you to use. Alternatively, you can also use a truck or some sort of car (although I suppose it doesn’t have the same effect).
3) Finding a drop-off location (or multiple locations)
Parking lots are a great place, especially in front of a Staples, Walmart or other store. That way, the bus causes publicity AND people are encouraged to buy things as they pass by your bus. However, if you do use a parking lot, make sure you have permission from the store. Some parking lots require Certificate of insurance (CKI clubs… you can receive proof of insurance via Kiwanis/CKI. If you’re unsure of how to receive that, don’t hesitate to email me at email@example.com for ANY event requiring that roof).
4) Set a date (of course) and create a list of donations
Don’t forget to put together a list of things you are looking for. The best way to collect those is to work off of school supply lists (any office supply store can supply you with a “back to school” list of things to buy). Don’t forget to print out multiple copies to pass out to friends, family members, people you meet along the street, professors, Kiwanians, anyone you come across…
5) Promote, promote, promote!
Promotion plays a heavy role in the success of a Stuff a Bus event. To stuff a bus, you need people to bring A LOT of things. And a lot of DIFFERENT things (not just a million sharpies). To make sure you get ALL the things on your list, promote for a long time (plan ahead) and promote often! Most people will be able to at least donate a dollar to buy a few folders.
Stuff a Bus events are really popular for television and radio shows to cover as well. If you’re running a particularly large event, definitely reach out to your local news. Below are some example:
Not all stuff a bus projects need to have a school materials focus.
6) Make sure you have enough volunteers day-of
Obviously, you will need a legal volunteer driver. However, you will need as many volunteers as possible to organize the donated goods, itemize the goods, coordinate with the school you are donating to, and make sure everything gets to the school in one piece! There are a lot of jobs for a lot of people, so try and get your whole club involved!
7) Get to the site ahead of time
This should go unsaid for any service project. However, it’s a good reminder for you to arrive early. That way, you have enough time to prep, set up shop and get everything ready for the “big open”
8) Run the event, then analyze
After the event, evaluate the project to see if it was a success. Were there any donations you needed (but didn’t get)? Did people get lost trying to give you donations? Was the bus too expensive? Was the list of materials logical and sensible? There are the types of questions that you need to ask as you are evaluating the event. Is this event something worth organizing again next year, or with different materials (maybe this is more effective with a food drive or a stuffed animal drive)?
Ultimately, one of the biggest pulls of a Stuff-A-Bus project is that it looks awesome and is fun to participate in. While it does take a TON of behind the scenes work, many clubs have found that, in the end, it brings a lot of attention and donates an incredible amount of goods to a wonderful cause.
I went to Staples yesterday to buy some refills for my planner when I noticed, finally, that everything is going on sale for Back to School season! That means folders for 10 cents, dollar packs of paper and tons of other super low sale costs.
This is not only the ideal time for you to buy your materials for school (and arts and craft materials for CKI), but also the perfect opportunity to collect donations for schools! Now, there are several ways to do it, which is why I split it into two main “parts.” The first part (this post) will be talking about putting backpacks together and donating them. The second part (my next post) will be talking about stuff-a-bus programs and other ways to collect school supplies.
Part 1 - Backpack Kits
With costs so dirt cheap during Back 2 School season, this is the ideal time to collect and donate school supplies. When we organized this project in the past, we would collect materials in bulk (ex: 100 folders, 100 stacks of paper, 30 binders, etc). This collection would include backpacks. Similar to other projects (Hygiene Kits), this requires a bit of preemptive planning.
There are a lot of locations that accept backpacks and school supplies. If you’re looking for a local area, schools (especially inner-city schools), halfway houses and orphanages often look for these materials. Some after school programs also need these materials, so it’s important to keep an eye out for kid-friendly locations.
Another option is to “set up shop” near a library (with permission) or a kid-friendly area and sell these backpacks (subsequently donating the money to a school or library). You could leave table near the selling site with dimensional paint so that kids could decorate their own backpacks and bring it home, and it would be an effective way for parents to make a “one stop shop” for school materials. (I’m a particular fan of this because I like showing kids how to put binders together). If you plan on using this option, make sure you are allowed to do so.
If you’re still looking for organizations to donate materials, Operation Backpack and Develop Africa are solid locations to donate your materials. However, in all honesty, it is easiest if you find a local donation center (it’s zero cost on shipping and you are directly contributing to your community)!
Secondly, and this is important for backpack/material collecting, make sure you know what grade(s) you are donating towards. Kindergarteners and middle school students will not need the same things. Most office supplies stores (Office Max, Staples, Walmart) supply lists that different grades will need. If you’re still looking for a list though, this is a good resource: http://www.greatschools.org/back-to-school/supplies/109-supply-list-to-get-you-started.gs?page=all.
You’ll notice very similar things, such as:
- Pens / Pencils
- Calculators (for older kids)
- Arts & Craft Supplies (for younger kids)
- Lined paper (make sure you double check if it needs to be wide or college ruled)
- Binders / Notebooks
- Folders (lots of folders)
Some things (folders and paper) will be significantly cheaper than others (crayons), so make sure you budget out how many backpacks you plan to “put together.”
After that, it’s a matter of putting the backpacks together. Have members of your club put each backpack together (as individuals or as a group). One nice way to leave a “positive” mark on the kids you donate these to is to add a positive card or message in the backpack. Messages like “good luck in school!” or “study hard, we’re cheering for you!” are examples of positive notes you can send along.
Hello ladies and gents!
Sorry for the lack of posting in the past few days/weeks! I participated in the 2012-2013 CKI Board Trainer this past week, where the International Board was trained in all things CKI! I was able to bring back some great ideas, some inspired by our very own districts, and so I can’t wait to continue sharing these with you via this tumblr!
To find more CKI-specific information, don’t forget to check out our 2012-2013 International President and Vice President Blog (developed by IP Jo and IVP Daniel): http://josielcki.wordpress.com/. :)
No Sew Blankets, for anyone who has never seen them, are blankets that are made without any sewing (thus avoiding the use of needles and other prickly things). They’re relatively simple to make and a lot of organizations take them, so this post will include some ways to “spruce up” your no sew blankets :)
As you can see here, no sew blankets are traditionally made out of fleece (because if you cut fleece, the edges won’t fray). Fleece is incredibly warm and, if found on sale, can be surprisingly cheap. I would strongly suggest going to a Joanne’s or similar store to find your fabric. Joanne’s has a tendency to have a lot of coupons and sales, so definitely look out for that!
The unique feature about no sew blankets is that they are double-sided, with usually a different color on each side. This adds variety to your blanket and allows you to use both a solid and printed pattern. For example, one side can be yellow and while polka dots, and the other side can be a solid green color. Combined, it would look really great!
Each side of a no sew blanket must be cut evenly (they both must be the same size). I always suggest adding about 6 to 9 inches to however big you actually want the blanket to be.
Then, you cut squares off each corner. An example can be found below:
As you can see, the sides have also been cut about 6 inches into the blanket. This creates many little… “fingers” or strips. The strips are going to be what you use to tie the blanket.
Starting from one corner, start tying (a basic knot will do) the top piece of fleece to the bottom piece of fleece. I double knot to keep it strong (which is the easiest way to do it), but I have seen plenty of other popular knots.
As you can see in the picture above, the individual is double knotting his knots to make sure each one is strong. Go across a side of the blanket. When you are done, make your way to the next side and keep going until the entire blanket is tied around.
Voila! You’ve made yourself a no-sew fleece blanket.
As you can see, fleece blankets have this cute little fray (created by the knots that you’ve tied over and over). Plus, these blankets are very comfortable.
But here’s the most important part: Where do these blankets go? Where can I send them?
Never fear, there are plenty of ideas for you to donate your blankets. First, approach your local libraries and hospitals. Even things such as after school centers and day care centers are looking for no sew blankets to take care of their kids and such. Personally, I would look into your local options first because you don’t need to ship anything, and you’re helping your immediate location!
But if you’re looking for something a little more “national,” here are some ideas:
http://soldiersangels.org/blankets-of-hope.html - Soldier’s Angels
This organization sends blankets to wounded soldiers or soldiers overseas to remind them that we at home are thinking of them.
http://www.projectlinus.org/links.html - Project Linus
Project Linus provides security blankets to local children or hospitalized kids. Inspired by Linus of the Peanut Gang (who was known for his signature security blanket), Project Linus takes blankets of all kinds, including no sew blankets, to donate to kids (particularly in the Illinois area).
http://www.ywca.org/site/pp.asp?c=8nKFITNvEoG&b=2280423 - YMCA
This is a YMCA that donates no sew blankets. :) You can also look into your local YMCA to see if they’d take your donation!
Happy knotting! :D
So for those who do not know, the Eliminate Project focuses one Eliminating Maternal/Neonatal Tetanus (MNT) from the world through the use of vaccines. Three vaccines, enough to immunize a mother for up to ten years, costs only $1.80.
Maternal/Neonatal Tetanus is a disease that ravages the poorest of the poor. Most notably, these are third-world locations with little to no medical support. For women who live in these areas, sanitary birthing isn’t always a possibility. When the umbilical cord is cut with a rusty knife or a dirty tool, the tetanus virus has a high possibility of reaching both the mother and child.
When a child is infected with MNT, the child has little more than a week to live, experiencing pain, sensitivity to touch and light with little to no chance to live. Mothers, too, have a strong risk of dying.
The Eliminate Project is the Kiwanis Worldwide Initiative, worked on by Key Clubbers, CKI members and, truly, all branches of the Kiwanis Family. We hope to complete it by 2015 (the 100th anniversary of Kiwanis), but that means each and every member will have to participate in this endeavor.
One big reason why I focus on this project in particular is because it is (1) a partnership with Kiwanis and UNICEF and (2) a chance to change the world. The Eliminate Project is not the only project combating Maternal/Neonatal Tetanus, but it is the largest and the most financially supported portion of the fight against MNT.
Recently, Kiwanis Family members have discovered that you must donate your money in a specific way if you want to make sure it is going to the Eliminate Project. Because this is a joint Kiwanis and UNICEF project, there have been many clubs that have donated money to UNICEF (possibly under the memo “Eliminate”) thinking it would go to the Eliminate Project.
However, and this is very important to point out: if you are donating to the Eliminate Project, you MUST donate through Kiwanis. When you donate through UNICEF, it goes into the general pool of funds. The “general funds” can go to just about anything, from other projects (like Malaria Nets) to administrative funds.
To make sure you donate to the Eliminate Project, make sure you use one of these methods: http://sites.kiwanis.org/Kiwanis/en/theELIMINATEproject/Give.aspx.
1) Credit Card, using an online donation form.
2) Via a check to The Kiwanis Foundation with the memo “The Eliminate Project” (not to UNICEF). The memo should also include the name of the District or club (example: “The Eliminate Project - Duke University”)
I emphasize this a lot because there are many clubs donating to the Eliminate Project that are not being credited. Even within New York, I found many clubs donating to UNICEF for Eliminate and not to the proper location.
For those giving to the Eliminate Project, please make sure you are donating to the Kiwanis Foundation (with the memo “Eliminate Project”).
:) If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask me or check out the Eliminate Project website. It has a lot of great information AND a lot of awesome videos that you can use to promote the Eliminate Project in YOUR club. :)
Hygiene kits are always needed in Battered Women’s Shelters and Homeless Shelters. Therefore, a great way to help these local shelters out is to create hygine kits for individuals who live there!
Like any other collection-based service project, you are going to first want to see if there are places that will take them. Some battered women’s shelters and homeless shelters only take full, large bottles of hygine products. However if, for example, a battered women’s shelter is organizing a spa night for the women that live there, they may be interested in hygine kits as “gift baskets” for the women who participate.
After that it’s a matter of figuring out what to put in each basket (and how to put it all together). Personally, I like cheap packets of colored paper bags (or plastic gift bags) because they’re cheap and easy to buy in bulk. To spruce them up, I add a bit of tissue paper (don’t worry about listing the materials needed, they’re all on the bottom of this post).
To figure out what to put in each basket, I like to see what people or hotels can donate first. If you ask nearby hotels, they may be willing to give you bags and bags of their small hygine bottles.
At the very least, I like to put in a bottle of shampoo, one of conditioner and a bar of soap to get things going. Some nicer hygine kit that I’ve seen have also put in small bottles of body mist (which certain hotels also give away), toothbrush/tooth paste and whatever else they can get donated. Which brings me to my next point…
Collecting these materials (the hygine materials) is really important! Whether you decide to buy the little trial bottles in bulk, or you get them donated, you need to make sure you HAVE those materials. Need some ideas as to where to collect them? As I mentioned before, many hotels are willing to give a bag or two of these materials away. If not, wholesale stores have been known to sell boxes and boxes of soap or toothbrushes, so that might be somewhere else to consider. And, many people in general steal travel sized shampoos/conditioner without ever actually using it, so you might want to just ask around to see if anyone hoards these little gifts.
And finally, once you have all the necessary materials, you need to PACK them! Get your club to pack these hygine kits during a club meeting and you’ll be good to go!
I like to add an index card with a positive message (or a card) to attach to the hygine kits, so that the person receiving it knows the hygiene kit is filled with love :)
As promised, here are some of the materials needed:
Paper Bags / Plastic Bags
Tissue Paper (decorational)
Toothbrush/Toothpaste (usually for homeless shelters)
A hand made card :)
A large scale scavenger hunt is a scavenger hunt which lasts for longer than a few days (traditionally about a week or two). With so much time, you’re going to need a butt ton of clues, so plan early!
We like to split our clues into multiple categories:
- Activities (do something and take a picture)
- Findings (find something and take a picture)
- Time Constricted (clues that only last for a specific amount of time)
That way, it gives your scavenger hunt a lot of variety and ideas!
We did our scavenger hunt in groups because, with a “large scale scavenger hunt,” we wanted to encourage cooperation as much as we wanted to facilitate competition!
Need ideas for scavenger hunt clues? Never fear, cause Jo is here!
- Drawing something with chalk (like the CKI logo on a floor)
- Decorating a tree in the summer with christmas ornaments
- Bake a cake
- Dress up as something (pirates are a good idea)
- Doing community service (we are a community service organization)
- Find a specific building
- Take a picture of your CKI club (or of a specific officer)
- Find a dog walker
- Find a CKI poster
- Find three pairs of sneakers without shoelaces
These are a little different and add an interesting twist to your events. Because people might get bored of the clues after a few days or so, the time constricted clues are interesting because they only apply for a short amount of time (like only at 3 to 5 PM every day, or only on Thursdays).
Really time constricted clues can be just about anything, but you need to make sure judges are keeping track of the time constricted clues. What we like to do is assign a judge per “time constricted” clue so that judge can give the a-ok in which teams achieved which events.
Other tips: you will most definitely need judges who are not participating in the event but are running it! As you can see, judges are needed to finalize the score (and help announce the winner), but are also needed to handle certain clues and to validate the fact that groups completed the scavenger hunt.
Beware, however! Some people get really, really, really into it! :) Happy hunting!
Sorry for the lack of posting recently… my computer went haywire a few days ago and I haven’t been online to post but I am back with more CKI ideas than ever before!
So, finally, the weather is getting nicer, which means there are more and more opportunities to go outside and have a bit of fun :) Which means its also the perfect time to go out and raise that money!
Like all other fundraiser picnic/spirit days can take a bit of planning work, particularly if you are organizing one with a large crowd. But it can be a lot of fun, and you can always invite other branches of the Kiwanis family (like K-Kids and Builder’s Club) to join in on the fun (for any non-CKI’ers, that’s the Elementary School and Middle School branch of the Kiwanis Family).
Charging admission for the picnic is a great way to raise money for any of your causes, or for your club budget. During our picnics, we also like to sell raffle tickets for various donated goods (or for actions like throwing a water balloon on someone). It’s a lot of fun and another great way to raise money, so it’s something you’ll definitely want to consider.
For the competitive edge in all of us, I am also including a list of “racing activities.” These are really popular if you scatter them throughout the picnic as ways to keep people entertained. Not only are they great to partake in, but they are equally entertaining to watch! Give away ribbons (like the ones we used to get back in the day) or raffle tickets to create an incentive (beyond “bragging rights”).
Need ideas on races? Here are some!
Potato Sack Races - we used garbage bags because they were cheaper, but this is the traditional “jump in a potato sack and cross the finish line” race.
Wheelbarrow Races - don’t forget this requires 2 people!
Relay Races - to give it an extra twist, make the second relay racer do something (like solve a puzzle) before running the extra relay lap!
3 Legged Races - This also requires 2 people!
Egg On Spoon Races (I don’t even know what this is actually called)
Power Walk Racing - Only walked allowed!
Bouncing Ball Race - Race to the finnish… but you have to bounce the ball at the same time (great for basketball players)
Grab Bag/Surprise Relay - It’s easier to just link you: http://familyfun.go.com/playtime/sports-athletic-games/relays-races/grab-bag-1022815/
Mummy Race - wrap someone in toilet paper and then have them run the relay!
And, if you’re still looking for ideas to spruce up your picnic, consider organizing a human scavenger hunt or picture scavenger hunt. A human scavenger hunt is a scavenger hunt where the list of all the clues pertains to activities or traits that other people have (ex: Find a person born in January or Find someone who plays an instrument). Human scavenger hunts encourage people to meet each other and still brings out the friendly competition in all of us!
As I found this weekend, playgrounds are always places that are in need of help and upkeeping. Because many playgrounds are used day in and day out by families, baby sitters and schools, playgrounds must be built sturdy and kept well so that kids can play in them safely and for years to come.
This past weekend, I had the joy of working in a playground in NYC to help paint a wall and a few parts of a swing. This got me going, as I was talking with the coordinator, because she mentioned that playgrounds were always in need of help.
Here are some of the things that parks always need help with:
Painting is obviously one of those things that playgrounds always need help with. Paint chip, kids play rough, and it seems like volunteers are always needed to paint handball courts, fences, and, yes, playground equipment.
Planting is another one of those things. Like parks, playgrounds tends to need help annually with nearby flowers, perhaps planting new trees, and making sure they are kept up well.
I was surprised when I heard about this, but it makes a lot of sense, particularly in an area where perhaps there are a lot of falling leaves, or perhaps if it’s the summer and it’s constantly busy.
Some parks like to hold various activities throughout the weekend for kids or parents who come by. For example, the playground I volunteered at liked to practice yoga in the summer. Some parks hold a craft fair, while others play movies by projecting it on a wall.
Whatever the case may be, you may be able to work with your local playground to organize a kid-friendly activity that will keep kids occupied (perhaps helping the parents out). This may involve teaching kids safety, perhaps organizing some sort of spirit relay, or simply doing activities like face painting and crafts.
And, if your playground is conveniently placed within a park, read back to my earlier post about park clean ups (Project #5 - Highway / Park Clean Up).