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The following ideas were posted to the RS list several months ago by Pam J.
Guidelines : Assess the needs of the people who live in your area
Develop programs to fill those needs
Family History Exhibit. This exhibit can show various genealogical materials, computer printouts, journals, family histories and other information relating to family history and "family trees."
Family Exhibit: this exhibit should emphasize the importance of families, with quotes from Church authorities and leading officials. Especially good in malls and heavy pedestrian traffic.
Family Week; Family Unity month. Working with other churches and/or government officials, this can focus on family unity, and gives Church members and missionaries an excellent opportunity to give community service.
Values Workshops. Event brings together leading authorities on values. It can be held in a church meetinghouse or at a public auditorium. Several lectures on how to teach values to our children, utilizing LDS principles.
Family Open House. - Using a ward meetinghouse, neighbors can be invited in to learn about family home evenings and other family centered activities.
Music Festival. Church talent can be used to provide an evening of music for a community or neighborhood. Members and nonmembers can be invited. Special occasions such as Easter and Christmas are particularly good times. Emphasis will be on the family.
Clean-up Campaign. Utilizing Church members as a beginning, join with neighbors and others to clean up a neighborhood, community or area. Great family activity.
Fireside - Feature a prominent speaker and invite neighbors and others to a Sunday night meet which discusses a family subject.
Blood Donation Campaign. Working with the Red Cross or a local hospital, promote the giving of blood. Involve everyone, but have Church members volunteer to give blood. Involve the entire family, even though children cannot donate.
Family Conference. Bring families together in a central location to listen to a series of lectures and seminars on the family. Include a wide range of topics. Have other groups co-sponsor the conference.
Maternity Seminar. Use RS sisters to share their knowledge and experience with expectant mothers. This could be a monthly activity for first-time mothers.
Disaster Benefit. When a disaster strikes in a neighboring area hold a fund raising event to assist the victims. Money, food, clothing, etc. can be raised among members, but expand the even to include everyone.
Health and/or Hygiene Day - Hold a one day conference or seminar on health or hygiene for the family. Hold a series of lectures on a variety of topics related to family health. Invite leading authorities to lecture. Open to the public.
Adopt Rest Homes, Nursing Homes and Hospitals. Contact your local organizations to see if you can bring musical groups or others to visit and entertain. Provide a "family experience" for those who may be lonely. Assign members to read and/or visit regularly those who need special attention.
Book Collections. Collect books from Church members and others and
donate them to local hospitals, orphanages, rest homes, etc. Or, collect books for deaf
children and donate to the schools for the deaf. Elementary and high schools need
books, too. Church families can be asked to participate and to involve other
families in a community-wide effort.
Interfaith dinner. Cooperate with other churches to sponsor a dinner honoring an outstanding citizen in the community, a prominent church which has done something special for the community, or for some other worthy cause.
Special messages for Christmas and Easter. Issue a special message by
your local Church leaders about these important times of the year, and deliver to the
local media. Or, print them on flyers and distribute them to neighbors in the area.
Classes in Family History. Have qualified Church members teach evening classes on genealogy and family history for the public.
Interfaith Community Project. Join with other churches to promote a community project, or to sponsor an educational program, or to alert the public to problems (gambling, drugs, gaffiti, juvenile crime, etc.)
Charity drives. Raise money, food, or clothing for a specific worthy community project or event. Involve members of the Church and others.
Contests. Sponsor useful community activities: gingerbread house contests at Christmas, poster contests for various causes, essay contest for major celebrations, lighting contests for Christmas, flower garden contests for spring, summer and fall, snow sculpturing contests in frigid locations, etc. Focus on positive community spirit which involves entire families.
Workshops for Special Groups: Special seminars for Senior citizens, or the deaf, blind, working mothers, teenagers, etc. Provide excellent opportunities for service to special groups. If possible, always use a theme of trying to help also the families of these special group.
Family Fun Week: Work with your local recreation department to sponsor a special week set aside for getting families together for constructive games and activities. Make a schedule for each day of the week, and emphasize activities which include families (including single parent families).
"Family of the Year" Program. Encourage community leaders to recognize a local family for their efforts to be a model family. Ask neighbors to nominate those they admire, appoint a panel of judges to review the nominations, and develop a dinner or forum where the award could be made.
"Disability Awareness" Day. Church members could take the leadership in showing others in the community the difficulties which people with disabilities have and to give recognition to those who have excelled in spite of their disability.
Youth Programs: Various kind of events could be held all youth: local
Olympics, basketball, soccer,
aquatic sports events, picnics, clean-up days, anti-graffiti workshops, etc. LDS youth should be involved.
Community Service Workshop- Invite civic leaders, women's clubs, churches and other organizations to attend a meeting where discussions could be held on community service. Out of this workshop should come a list of possible projects needed in the community and assignments given to various groups to do the projects.
Church Booth at a community fair: the Church is sometimes asked to take part in a community activity or event by sponsoring a booth. A booth about family history has proven to be popular, also FHE, self-reliance, preparedness.
Help for the Elderly or Disabled - Most communities have great needs in assisting the elderly and disabled, especially those who are confined to their homes.
Cemetery projects: Mobilize the community to help clean up the cemetery on a given day. Visit the local sexton who will give you lots of ideas on what can be done.
Local History Expo - Invite everyone to contribute a photgraph or news article about the early days of your community. Sponsor an exhibit of these at a Church meetinghouse or public facility. Invite older people to give talks about the early days of the community. Focus on those families who pioneered the area and their descendants.
Anti-Pornography campaign - Join other churches in fighting pornography in your community. Information can be obtained from
Religious Alliance Against Pornography
800 Compton Rd, Suite 9224
Cincinnati, OH USA 45231
The Church is an active participant with RAAP.
Nativity Pageant. Sponsor a live nativity pageant during the 2 weeks before Christmas. This can be done outside at on of the chapels. Lights , good sound system, dedicated participants and costumes are the 4 ingredients for a successful pageant.
Parenting Workshop. A series of Lectures and demonstrations by local people on ways to be a better parent. Out of these meetings can come a cooperative effort to improve our community's youth programs.
Chapel Open House. Involve your auxiliary and priesthood organizations in sponsoring displays and activities for an open house in your chapel. You don't need a new chapel for having an open house. Be clear about your intended audiences and messages.
Quilting Fair. Make quilts for a charity, either to be sold or to be donated to rest homes, etc. Involve other churches and organizations. A cultural hall full of quilting frame is a great sight. Quilts could be made for women's shelters, babies, etc.
Adopt a School. Contact a local school principal and see what you can do to help that school reach a higher level. Schools need a lot of help, including volunteers to assist. Most wards and branches are located geographically near or around a school. Church families can do a lot to assist in a variety of way. Emphasize family involvement by Church families and other families.
Literacy Project. The RS has a worldwide program to assist with literacy. Encourage your sisters to sponsor literacy classes in the meetinghouse or in a public facility.
Paint or Clean up homes of Senior Citizens. Few projects get more attention than those which focus on helping seniors with their problems. Work with families of senior citizens to see what needs to be done, involve other family members in the project, follow up to show real and continuing interest.
Dinner meeting with Local Leaders. Invite 20 or so government leaders and civic leaders to a dinner with LDS leaders. Include both men and women. Explain the Church to them, focus on our programs with families, ask for questions; tell them we want to be good neighbors, ask for their suggestions on ways we can help in the community.
Sponsor a dinner for Senior Citizens; This event should be planned around a special theme, family history, travel, etc. And awards can be given to those senior citizens who have done something special for the community, their families, or other causes.
Sponsor a Music Workshop for different ages. Using the meetinghouse, ask Church members who are organists, pianists to conduct workshops for children and adults. These workshops could be for improving church music, using music in the home, getting a child to take lessons., etc.
One-day Family Symposium. Exhibits, lectures, displays, FHE demonstrations, and other family related activities in a local meetinghouse or public facility. Invite the public to attend, have enough Church members in attendance to show good support.
Family Olympics Day. A community-wide function involving kids of all ages as well as adults, including senior citizens. Organize races, marathons, tennis, softball, soccer and any number of local sports functions for each age bracket.
Job Fair. Sponsor a career day for teenagers or a job day for adults. Work with various community organizations to pool their resources of available jobs. Invite businesses to send a representative to teach people how to be interviewed. Ask bankers, lawyers, businessmen and businesswomen, physicians, realtors, insurance agents, and others to tell what it takes for a career in their field.
Teen Abstinence Symposium. Schedule a a full day or evening of lecturers and discussions about helping teems meet today's challenges. One could be drugs, alcohol, sex. Or a combination of these and other subjects. Be sure to involve teenagers themselves on panels and as speakers.
Gifts to Clergy. At Christmas, send to each member of the clergy in your community a simple gift from he Church: home baked bread or goodies, copy of family home evening manual, or something for them personally. At the very least, a Christmas card should be sent.
Habitat for Humanity. This organization builds homes for needy families. There are several ways Church families can participate, give time and skills in helping to build the home, take on a project to build a home, and use Church members to do all the labor, or contact local "Habitat" officials to see what they need most.
Bread making projects. Organize the RS and families to bake bread for the poor or for an auction for a charity. This can be expanded to include other women in the community.
Traveling FHE. Make a list of LDS families who would be willing to visit homes on other than Monday evenings to teach other families how to hold a FHE or family hour. Then publicize this service through the local press or on handbills.
Speaker Bureau. Make a list of LDS men and women who would be willing to speak at civic clubs, service organizations, luncheons and other special events. Make a list by subject matter and mail to heads of clubs and organization in the area. Arrange a central # to call. Try to have a wide variety of subjects, some on Church or theology, some on parenting, health, teen problems or family related problems and solutions.
Painting projects. Every community has a need to paint a playground or other public place. Contact the city recreations dept or mayor's office and volunteer to take on a task or project.
Family singers; Have a chorister organize a family center choir. Then make it available to sing a various community activities.
Involvement in Community organizations; Encourage church members to volunteer for Red Cross, United Way, Cancer Crusade, March of Dimes, Family Crisis center, Rape Center, Habitat for Humanity, Boy Scouts, and related organizations. The United Way or Chamber of Commerce has lists of those needing help.
Restoration Projects. Most communities have historical sites or buildings which need help in restoration. Work with local restoration groups to find out which projects need help, then work with priesthood leaders to see which ones could be supported.
Family 3 Person Basketball Tournament. Sponsor a basketball tournament for families, in which fathers and sons or mothers and daughters and invited to compete against other families.
Senior Citizens Dance. (A "senior prom") Sponsor an annual dance for everyone in your community or neighborhood who is 65 or older. Serve refreshments, plan a floor show, pick up and deliver senior citizens. Use slow and easy recorded music reminiscent of their generation. Formally invite them to come by using personal invitations, phone calls, letters, etc.
Painting House numbers. Make sure all the homes in your area are clearly marked with house numbers on curbs or houses. Free service by LDS youth groups or priesthood quorums or families. Contact homeowners before you do this.
Festival of Trees. Ask Church families to decorate Christmas trees. Display them in a central location or meetinghouse. Charge admission to the public with all proceeds going to a local charity. About 2 weeks before Christmas either auction the trees (proceeds to charity) or take them to preselected hospitals, nursing homes, shelters, etc.
TG Day dinners for needy families or other groups. In the US and Canada, Thanksgiving is a holiday for remembering family traditions. One tradition is to help those who are less fortunate, or who are living away from their homes. Inviting poor families is one way of making it a special TG. Another is to invite families who are living away from their native countries. Encourage LDS families to invite others for TG dinner, or make it a community wide effort.
Family Essay Contest. Work with schools to sponsor a contest each year in which students will write an essay on the importance of the family in our society. This could also be extended to adults. The winners would be invited to read their essay at a public event. The same activity can be built around a painting contest.
Adopt-a-Park. Work with govt leaders to see if they would want an organization to adopt a park in the city. This would include having a regular clean-up day, painting and keeping the park in good condition for the community to enjoy.
Mayor's prayer breakfast. All the clergy in a community could come together once each year at the invitation of the mayor or other official. A discussion of needed community projects could be discussed; churches could exchange ideas for improving the community.
Kids' day. A special day honoring children. Dads can take their children to work with them; moms the same; kids become mayor-for-a-day, etc. outstanding kids are honored in various ways. Spotlight on the worth of children.
Family Walk-a-thon. With traffic officials, map our a route through or around your city. Encourage families to walk the route, usually ending at some special place--city hall, a stadium or city park. For refreshments and/or awards. Can also be a "swim-a-thon" or "run-for life" rather than a walk.
Book fair for families. Sponsor a community book fair. Families bring all their old books and exchange for children's and teen's book, also good for adults as well. Families love it.
Hobbies Exhibition. Invite families in the community to exhibit their hobbies at tables set up in the meetinghouse or at a public building. Encourage LDS families to take the leadership. Promote the event. Have those looking for a new hobby come and share ideas.
Family Christmas Caroling. Encourage LDS families to spend a few evenings before Christmas caroling their neighbors and friends. 2 o 3 small families can join together if this seems more appropriate. Leaving Church literature is probably not appropriate.
Community Youth Road shows. Use a traditional roadhog format to involve different youth groups within the community--children of civic clubs and others organization. Hold the Road shows in an LDS meetinghouse or rotate among several sites. Have a specific theme of value-- such a family unity. (Ensure LDS standards are met by all participants.)
Humanitarian Canning. Where an LDS cannery is available, invite the community to help can foods for the needy--or choose a special cause to receive the canned goods.
Coats for the needy. Collect used coats for needy children and/or adults. First, find what humanitarian groups will accept used coasts. Then, publicize where coasts can be left (work with a local department store to give a discount on a new coat for anyone bringing in and old coat is one way of doing it). Arrange with a local cleaner to clean the coats before you deliver them to the recipients. The Christmas season is a good time for this project.
Paint a House. Select a home in the community, invite the community to join in painting it. A local paint store might be willing to donate the paint. Your LDS people can form the nucleus of your painting crew, but work with the local press to invite others to join in.
Barn Dance and BBQ. A community affair, with proceeds going to a local charity. Find another organization to co-sponsor it with the Church.
Repairing Toys for Needy Children. Start this project early in the year, preferable just after Christmas for the following c\Christmas. Ask Church members to repair toys that are collected by youth in the ward or branch. Make it a year-long project, if possible, because it takes a long time to repair certain kinds of toys. Collect from the entire community, and tell in advance where the toys are going--a local charity for children, hospital, etc.
Adopt a Highway. Volunteer through your local highway dept. To keep a segment of roadway or highway clean of litter.
Anti-Crime seminar. Work with local police and public safety officials to conduct an evening or day-long seminar on reducing crime in your community. Invite the community.
"Come Journey with Us to Bethlehem." (Christmas) A
meetinghouse's classrooms became the homes and shops of Bethlehem. Members create
simple, home-spun costumes and have recreated in each room the simple dwellings of the
time. Members are
shopkeepers, innkeepers and families of that time. Sights, sounds, and smells (baked bread). Community guests go from
room to room, culminating at the living manger scene. Christmas music by harp, flute and reeds.
Christmas creche fest. Use a Friday, Sat, and Sunday for a 3-day open house at a ward or stake meetinghouse. Creches (nativity scenes) are solicited for loan from Church members and townspeople, and include traditional creches representative of other cultures and faiths. Included might be children's hand-made nativities; hand carved ones from Jerusalem, and many others. Friday night might be VIP night with dinner. All day Sat. Is open house for entire community with hot cider and cookies; Sunday eve will be Christmas program.
Christmas tree recycling project. Work with local govt to take
the leadership in this important environmental project. Publicize a center location
where trees can be taken for recycling, then have Church members there to take the trees
and bundle them. Media coverage is essential, and many families work together to
make sure their Christmas tree is given a
"Gang up on Gangs." Involve your police dept, mayor's office, political leaders and others in a day long seminar on 1) the signs and perils of gang activities. 2) how to take control of your neighborhoods; and 3)how to strengthen the community by strengthening your family.
Community talent contest. Open to everyone in the community, a talent contest will attract family singing groups soloists, mimes, magicians, jugglers, artists and a host of the participants who have a wide variety of talent. Involve your local cultural arts committees and over civic organizations. Award the winners with certificates and recognition.
Care Pouches. Work with local officials of international charities to send "Care" packages who have needs. Involve the entire community, but has LDS take the lead. Individual facile can put together a care package of clothing, bedding, food items that won't spoil, small toys, etc. The charities will suggest sizes, packaging, contents, etc.
Establish a community "Roundtable" A roundtable is a network of community leaders, some of whom are members of the Church, who come together regularly to address issues that are of interest or concern to the group or the general public. They prepare action plans to deal with the issues, involving members of their organizations to help.
Establish a community "Family Council" Like a roundtable
this council is comprised of leaders of the community from education, the clergy, service
groups, government, police and community and family agencies who wish to give support to
the family unit. A family council addresses the needs of families in the community
by sponsoring activities, programs lectures, and
media events to highlight family needs.
Breakfasts or Luncheons for Clergy, Media leaders, and/or community leaders. Such meetings are to determine ways in which the Church can support the efforts of these leaders to improve or maintain a wholesome environment in the community. Such meetings should be held in a local restaurant.
Join or Organize an interfaith council. We should be members of such councils if their primary purpose is to better the community (as contrasted with those whose sold purpose is ecumenicalism.)
Donated advertising or display space. Shopping centers and businesses often have display space which could be used for family-type displays. If sponsored by public affairs, it would not be a missionary-type activity where proselyting takes place. The goal would be to assist non-LDS families to solve problems. Church materials could be purchased for the Dist. Center and handed out to those interested.
Neighborhood Watch. In some areas where crime might be a problem, neighbors can organize themselves so that night patrols will help protect their homes. Such a program should always be done in partnership with local police.
Disaster training. Work with your local Red Cross or Sheriff's dept to hold a disaster training workshop for your ward/stake area. Work with non-LDS neighbors to help sponsor it. Develop a 72 hrs kit list. If there is a disaster emergency, everyone will need to work together, so why not plan for such an emergency in advance.
Here are a few ideas and places to check for additional ones in your area.
1. Talk with your Stake Communications person. They should have a list of services needed in the community.
2. Your Human Response Network (that's what the shelter for abused women is called in this area) has needs. One item might be a modified hygiene kit, with sample bottles of cologne and hand lotion.
3. Spent flower arrangements with dried or silk flowers can be recycled into "new" bouquets, using small vases. These could be small for individual rooms or larger for reception areas.
4. Children can help rebag laundry soap into single load size bags, to be donated to a local laundromat or food bank. Wrap a dryer sheet around each bag with a rubber band.
5. A large bag of dog food could be broken down in the same way and give to the food bank.
6. School age children and older can read or talk with people in nursing homes. Recycled greeting cards using the front sections only and glued back to back with a popcicle stick in between make cheery little fans for the elderly as well.
7. Check with other churches. Some Catholic churches gather quilts and distribute.The Humanitarian Services rep in our region is involved with helping there.
8. Newpapers often list organizations with needs and you could contact them as ask them specifically.
Once you start digging and asking questions, it is amazing the needs that are out in our communities! Hope this helps. (Thanks to Jolyn for posting this)
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