Christianity Cove is a publisher of Christian materials generally marketed to children’s ministry programs. They offer ideas on everything from Sunday School lessons to crafts and activities. As part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I was offered the opportunity to review 100 Simple Service Projects.
100 Simple Service Projects was written by Mary-Kate Warner and is available for $19.95. She has taught in the children’s ministry for over 11 years and believes in helping children turn towards the Lord through charity. 100 Simple Service Projects is her compilation of projects she has done over the years with her ministry to teach sacrifice, love, and service to children of all ages. Teach Kids to Serve is a manual for adults to use with children K-6 but some of the projects could easily be done with older children too.
The book is broken into four types of directed service starting with the closest to home or service to family and ending with service furthest from home or service to America and the World. The fifth type of service, service designed by the child, is also covered. It is recommended to use closer service projects with younger children and gradually reaching further afield with older children. In the section covering the US and World, there is a very thorough evaluating world charitable giving organization as well as suggestions on evaluating those not found in the book.
I read this book not as a children’s ministry leader but as a homeschooling parent and Frontier Girls leader. In Frontier Girls the girls need to complete several service projects each year. I also desire for my children to learn to serve others because it is such an important skill. I find that, at times, it is difficult to come up with service ideas though. As I read it, I found that many of the ideas would work best with a group or were not really in line with my family’s culture. For example, for me to make my kids create chore coupons, it would be an utter waste of time since the connection between the coupons and service would be lost. If they had been in a class and the teacher had helped them create coupons, then they would get more out of it. I also found many of the suggestions in the beginning chapters were not very creative and I had already thought of them.
As the book progressed it became more relevant to my needs. The chapter on serving the community had many ideas for different types of service from elderly and children and to wildlife and the environment to various shelters. The chapter had some good ideas. Again, many ideas were definitely geared towards a group setting though, like starting a teddy bear collection for homeless shelters. Pumpkin Pie is making cards for the elderly at a nursing home.
I think my favorite part of the book was the section on helping the US and World through partnering with larger organizations. This chapter thoroughly vetted some of the more popular national charities as well as introduced me to several I had not heard of. It did give me some ideas of activities I could do with my children. It also gave some links to websites to vet out other charities that were not chosen by the author. I also liked the chapter on helping children do their own charity. It includes several charities which were started by children.
While I wasn’t able to implement any new charitable giving ideas, it did give me some more ideas about larger scale charities and service we might do with our co-op in the future. In the end though, I don’t think I would have bought it for my personal use. There just weren’t enough new ideas for me personally. My family serves every time we see a need from judging a karate test to holding doors for others, watering a neighbor’s garden when they are out of town, and donating to our church’s humanitarian aid programs. We are also working on designing our own act of service for a family with a 10 year old who will be in the hospital receiving a bone marrow transplant. The thing that this book did was give me inspiration to think big.