Many Exchange Clubs provide gifted students the opportunity to display their talents before a live audience by sponsoring a talent show. This event can not only fulfill the aspirations of talented youngsters, but it can also create enthusiasm within your club, greater community interest in Exchange and favorable publicity.
Speech and essay contests are another excellent way to contribute to the educational experiences of students. A club can decide what subjects to target (i.e., President’s Day or Memorial Day.)
After the winner has been chosen, the club should invite the student, his or her parents and the teacher or principal to a club meeting where the student will read the essay or perform the speech, and be presented with a special award.
Every year many children die in bicycle accidents. Clubs have been successful in conducting bicycle safety and training classes within their communities. Local police departments are a good source of information and can help sponsor a safety event with your club.
Your club may want to participate in March by reading to children or helping to teach children to read. You could also include a breakfast for the children and invite local celebrities to help in "feeding their minds." The program is sponsored by the National Education Association, www.nea.org; the American Library Association, www.ala.org; Reading is Fundamental, www.rif.org; and the National Center for Family Literacy, www.famlit.org.
Give the children in your community a nice treat - breakfast or lunch with Santa Claus. Each child can then receive a small gift as he/she sits on Santa’s knee and tell of their Christmas wishes. This project has been done with foster children and their parents or it may be done with children from a CAP Center, etc.
This project can be done with youth from your local Boys and Girls Club or with any children in need. Take the group of children for a weekend of camping, fishing, horseback riding or anything educational. Include a speaker on the dangers of drug abuse or the importance of staying in school, and the weekend is sure to be a success.
Work with a state or local special olympics office, participants can be children from area schools serving those with mental and developmental disabilities. Create fun games that the children may participate in, like a 30-yard run or ball toss. You may treat the children to lunch or dinner along with an awards presentation. The key is to give the children the attitude that winning isn’t everything, it’s having fun that is important.
If your club would like to become involved in mentoring youth or helping prevent substance abuse, go to the web site of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at www.health.org. This site features a multitude of project ideas, free campaign materials and links to other sites that promote nurturing our nation’s youth.