Tips for Starting an Outreach Program for Teens

Community service is a great way to get involved, help others and improve your community at the same time. This is often organized through local groups, places of worship, schools, or non-profit organizations, or you can decide to start your own initiative.

First Things First

Firstly, you need to decide what it is you want to accomplish. Let’s imagine you want to start a sports and cultural program to keep teens off the streets. There is your particular issue identified. Make sure to assess whether the area you choose as a base is in need of what you wish to supply. Next, you need to create awareness about what you hope to achieve. Encourage volunteers and obtain donations and sponsorships. Decide what you will offer: a range of sports, art skills, dance classes, games, and other workshops or seminars. Approach community leaders, local political representatives, faith leaders, and local business leaders to build a coalition team to back your project.

Moving Forward

Establish your base – you may want to use a recreational center or a church hall, or you may even have the funds to build a center particularly for your needs. Then spread the word. Use methods like social media and flyers to get the word out. Posters on bulletin boards at schools and libraries can also be useful. Approach local businesses like restaurants and grocery stores for donations and sponsorship for assisting with refreshments for the teens. Find out if business partners would like to be involved in supplying a uniform for your sports teams. There are companies that offer a unique service with regards to affordable uniforms for sports teams. They donate all proceeds towards their programs which include creating teams, running camps and clinics, holding seminars and organizing trips and counselling for their teams. This could create a mutually beneficial relationship for moving your project forward.

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Stationery stores could be approached for art supplies, and dance studios for donations of equipment and possibly trainers. Find suitable adult mentors and coaches. Student bodies and places of worship can often provide links to this manpower.

Jump In and Get Started

Remember to provide training for all staff, paid and volunteers alike. Make sure they understand the importance of making a difference, and that they know what your organization’s goals are. Keeping teens off the streets, as our example, will encourage a quality of life for the youth of the community. Whether you decide to offer participation free of charge or for a small fee, make sure it is attainable for your target market. By removing the economic barrier, no teen needs to be denied the opportunity to take part. It is a known fact that participation in sports improves academic performance, increases self-confidence, and promotes health and well-being, while also keeping teens away from the lure of drugs and alcohol. Creating a safe and nurturing environment for teens will teach them social commitment, how to work in a team, self-discipline, and also empower them in ways that will extend into their daily lives. Barriers can be broken down as they learn acceptance, tolerance, and mutual respect. Along with all the fun activities you could have on offer, why not also open a homework club? This can provide an area where teens can be assisted with their assignments and studying.

Raising the social consciousness of the youth, in turn, builds more empathetic and self-aware young adults. By diverting their energies into something positive, they create something to be proud of and work hard at sustaining.

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