Ideas for Service Back Home
At YouthWorks, we spend a lot of time getting to know the communities we partner with as we work to set up meaningful service partnerships. It is our privilege to partner with organizations already at work serving the needs of the people in these places. As you travel home from your mission trip, we encourage you to find places in your own community to serve. Sometimes it can be hard to find these places to serve or know where to start. Here are some ideas about how you can serve and some things to keep in mind as you set up partnerships in your own community.
You can serve in a variety of ways. For example you could…
- Work with food and clothing banks
- Do construction or manual labor
- Visit nursing homes or homes for those with disabilities
- Partner with soup kitchens
- Serve with Boys and Girls Clubs
- Partner with community beautification projects
- Partner with church ministries in tutoring, VBS and facilities management
Once you find a place to serve keep these things in mind while setting up your partnership:
- Meet key service contacts. Get to know the staff of the organization. You will be working with them on a regular basis so it is important to build that relationship.
- Understand their mission and vision. Take time to hear the story and history of their organization. Ask questions to help you understand their role in the community. There may be certain policies and restrictions that will limit the tasks that you take part in and it is important to respect these boundaries.
- Find out how volunteers will be used. Ask what you will be doing so you can set your team up well for appropriate clothing to wear, what to bring, what to expect, etc. Also find out any miscellaneous tasks that need to done in case you have extra hands or finish early.
- Clarify expectations/details. Communicate and confirm the times you will be serving and how often. Find out what staff members will be present and who will be giving an orientation to your team once you arrive. Ask about any additional details or things that you need to be aware of.
Our hope is that you won’t let your service end on your mission trip but that you will keep a lifestyle of service and find ways to serve in your own community back home. Remember that the example Jesus set was not to show you how to live for one week but year-round in every context and community – especially your own!
Remember Jesus’ words: “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” (John 13:15).