Learn how to beautify homes through basic home improvement and decorating skills.
Encourage the youth to talk to their parents about a part of their homes they would like to improve, and then invite mentors (such as a youth or parent) to teach the necessary skills, such as painting, arranging pictures, using color, woodworking, and so on. Give the youth an opportunity to practice the skill. Encourage them to use what they learn to make their homes more beautiful. In a future activity, invite the youth to share or show how they beautified their homes.
Help families in need at Christmastime.
Provide Christmas gifts and food for a family or families in need (this can be done anonymously). Coordinate with the bishop to determine needs and use ward-provided funds or donations from ward members. After the activity, invite the youth to share how they felt as they provided this service. Discuss ways they can have the spirit of Christmas throughout the year as they serve and bless the lives of others.
Provide food for the hungry.
Organize a food drive and collect nonperishable food to give to a food bank or other organization that assists the hungry. Consider contacting these organizations to find out what types of food are particularly needed. Review and discuss the verses in Matthew 25:31–45. What does this teach us about why we serve?
Learn to interact with, learn from, and serve people with disabilities.
Watch and discuss a video about serving those with disabilities, such as “Dayton’s Legs,” “For Madison,” or “Cheering Each Other On.” Invite youth and adults with disabilities to an activity night of engaging activities, such as dancing, playing games or getting-to-know-you activities, or making crafts. Create activity stations that are led by groups of youth. Be sure to be sensitive to the needs and situations of those you serve. Consider contacting local education or care centers for opportunities to serve.
Become familiar with opportunities to serve those in need.
Visit a local Church or community organization that provides relief or help to the poor and needy (such as a bishop’s storehouse, a homeless shelter, or an orphanage). Ask those who work there to give you a tour, explaining what they do to help people in need. Find out what projects the youth can help with at the center. Discuss ways that the Savior served and how we can be like Him.
Serve the community and bless the lives of those who live there.
Work with people in the community to identify needs that the youth could help meet. Youth could meet with community leaders, local government officials, or attend a community event such as a city council meeting. Organize a service project to meet community needs. Some possibilities include beautifying parks or public places, reading to schoolchildren, visiting patients in a hospital, organizing a food drive or blood drive, and so on. If necessary, plan for ongoing maintenance. Discuss the questions: What is our responsibility in our community? Why do we serve? (See Mosiah 2:17.)
Learn a useful skill and use it to serve someone in need.
Invite someone to teach the youth a skill such as painting, babysitting, changing oil in a car, repairing a bicycle, altering dresses, or planting a garden (consider inviting a youth or their parents to teach the skill). Plan a way to use this skill to serve others.
Learn how to serve family members through kindness and respect.
Invite adult siblings or other adult family members to participate in a panel discussion about improving relationships with our family members. How can brothers and sisters become close friends while they are young? Consider watching the video “Two Brothers Apart.” Invite the youth to ponder individually for a few minutes any changes they will make to the way they treat their family members.
Give every young woman a chance to receive the Young Womanhood Recognition medallion, regardless of mental or physical challenges.
Schedule regular activities for your Young Women class to complete Personal Progress goals on behalf of a young woman in your ward or branch who has physical or mental disabilities. Make sure the young woman with disabilities has the opportunity to participate and contribute as much as possible.
Recognize the many opportunities to serve people every day.
Divide the youth into small groups, and challenge them to perform as many random acts of kindness in a specified amount of time as they can. After they come back, ask them to share what they did, how they felt, and how their actions affected those they served. Have a leader accompany each group.
Help someone in the ward feel loved.
Secretly post pieces of paper with messages of encouragement and love on or near the car, front door, or yard of a ward member (such as the bishop, a new family, or a less-active family). Discuss how the youth felt as they did something nice for someone else. How can the youth express kindness to others in their daily lives? in their families? at school? Invite them to practice these ideas for a week and then share their experiences.
Build and express appreciation for fathers.
Watch together one of the following videos: “Earthly Father, Heavenly Father” or “Fathers and Sons.” Share with each other what your fathers mean to you. As a quorum or class, plan ways to show gratitude for fathers in your ward or branch. Here are some ideas:
Invite your fathers to attend Mutual and play a sport or game with you.
Make or decorate neckties.
Make a video where you tell your fathers how much you love them. Invite your fathers to watch the video with you.
Do yard work or a home improvement project for a father in the ward or branch.
Volunteer to take care of small children so a few fathers in the ward or branch can spend an evening alone with their wives.
Prepare a special dinner honoring fathers, and invite several fathers from the ward or community. Present awards to each one who attends, honoring his service as a father.
Hold a competition among the youth to see who can complete the most service for their fathers in a week.
Learn a song honoring fathers that you could sing during sacrament meeting on Father’s Day.
Write notes of gratitude expressing how your fathers have influenced your lives.
Build and express appreciation for mothers.
Watch together a video about mothers, such as “It Was Mom” (see above), “To Every Mother,” “Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!” or “Motherhood: An Eternal Partnership with God.” Share with each other what your mothers mean to you. As a quorum or class, plan and carry out an act of service to show gratitude for mothers in your ward or branch. Here are some ideas:
Create a scrapbook with images and messages that express your gratitude for your mothers.
Make a video where you tell your mothers how much you love them. Invite your mothers to come watch the video with you.
Plant a small garden for a mother in the ward or branch.
Volunteer to help a few mothers in the ward or branch by taking care of their children for an evening.
Prepare a special dinner honoring mothers, and invite several mothers from the ward or community. Present awards to each one who attends, honoring her service as a mother.
Invite your moms to attend Mutual and play a sport or game with you.
Learn a song honoring mothers that you could sing during sacrament meeting on Mother’s Day.
Hold a competition among the youth to see who can complete the most household chores for their mothers in a week.
Perform several acts of service and enjoy a treat together.
Set up a series of service projects—doing yard work for a widow or elderly couple, making baby quilts to donate, and so on—that youth have to complete to earn ingredients to make a favorite treat. Once they’ve earned all the ingredients, meet together to make the treat.
Serve others while having fun.
Provide groups of youth with a list of possible service projects, and assign point values to each one according to difficulty. Assign each group, accompanied by an adult leader, to visit nearby homes, streets, or neighborhoods to see how many service projects they can accomplish in that area in an hour. For example, they could clean up litter on a street or offer to pulls someone’s weeds. Have all the groups return at the end to add up their points and share their experiences. Award extra points for youth who perform service that is not on the list. Discuss the following questions: What is our responsibility in our community? Why do we serve? (See Mosiah 2:17.)
Find ways to serve your families or others every day for a week.
As a group, brainstorm ways that you can serve members of your family or people in your ward and community. Consider gathering lists of needs in the ward from priesthood or Relief Society meetings using blank, one-week calendars. Then choose various acts of service to do for your families or others for the next seven days and write them on your calendars. Record in a journal how you feel as you serve. At the end of the seven days, hold a follow-up activity to share experiences and feelings.
Learn skills that will prepare youth for lifelong service.
Ask the youth or bishop who in the ward, branch, or community needs help (make sure not to discuss anything confidential). Make a list of the skills necessary to meet these needs. Then ask the youth to identify skills they don’t have (could include painting, simple construction, sewing, gardening, and so on). Ask the youth which skills they would like to learn to meet these needs. Make plans for how the youth will learn these skills. This could include asking an expert for help, finding and using training videos, getting a book on the subject, and so on.
Help the elderly feel loved and appreciated.
Visit the elderly (this could be on a special occasion or holiday). Youth could visit individuals in their homes or visit an assisted-living or retirement facility. Consider preparing a short musical presentation or talent show to share. Take each elderly person a small gift or treat, or prepare songs or games to share. If visiting a facility, get approval first. You could also turn this into a service activity in which each youth performs small acts of service or kindness for an older member of the ward. Afterward, ask the youth to talk about the experience.
Help new members of our community feel welcome and help us feel the joy of service.
Visit a new family in the area and help them move in or perform some other needed service, such as yard work, painting, or making needed home repairs. Consider providing this service to Church members as well as to those not of our faith. Afterward, discuss with the youth how their service blessed this family.