Below are a variety of unique ways Young Life leaders in Bloomington, Indiana are serving the schools where they do ministry. Special thanks to Area Director Jeff Mahrt for sharing these helpful ideas.
We offered a guitar club for the middle school. We taught kids to play guitar but many leaders were there meeting kids and learning guitar too. The school loved that we were offering something like that. Tons of kids came, too.
One thing working adult leaders have started doing is being guest speakers at the high school. For example, a leader e-mailed the psychology professor, "Hey, I work for a hospital and we are interested in informing kids about signs and symptoms of autism." The teacher was thrilled to have this volunteer leader come in to speak each semester.
In Bloomington, we’ve been blessed, as every education major who pursued student teaching in the district where they lead Young Life has been able to teach there.
We have been asked to emcee or host the school’s after-prom activities.
Many of our kids are in National Honor Society and have to do complete volunteer service hours in the community. We as leaders allow them to serve at club and campaigners and sign off on their hours.
Many leaders have volunteered in schools’ tutoring programs. Some have created their own tutoring programs.
In the state of Indiana, college juniors and seniors are qualified to substitute teach. In Bloomington, about 20% of our leaders have subbed at their school.
School-Appointed Mentors/Listening Posts/XChange Program
Different schools have created school-sanctioned mentoring programs where mentors/youth leaders can come into the school and visit students during lunch. The school must connect with the mentors, and mentors must agree to certain guidelines, including wearing an ID badge. Sometimes this is part of a class that asks for mentors in the community to come along side potential first-generation college students and meet with them monthly at school for lunch.
I served with the PEERS Project: an abstinence education program that comes into all the different schools in our community. I coordinated a group of high school students who would share the benefits from abstaining from drugs, alcohol, and sex outside marriage.
Especially great with an art teacher or a class that's more "free flowing" where you can hang with kids and help out.
We have had leaders volunteer weekly in the Special Needs Classroom.
We had folks volunteer with Junior Achievement over the years, teaching work/study/financial principles in a class once a week.
High School Interns
In Bloomington, the local high schools have an internship class students can take where they work alongside a mentor for one period a day. I have had six different high school students work for me as Young Life office assistants during the school day.
Faculty Appreciation Breakfast
We hosted an annual faculty appreciation breakfast put on by Young Life. It was very easy. Simply brought in bagels and coffee and hung out with teachers. They could grab and go or stay and talk-- did not make a presentation.
Lunch Room Monitors
We have had leaders who would serve as School Lunch Monitors.
We have worked the Info Desk or Reception Desk during receptionist's lunch break.
Student Leadership Events
When we held club at the school, the school counselor was impressed with how well we executed group games, and invited our leaders (and paid them) to lead some mixers during a student leadership conference led by the counseling department.
Connect with Counselors
I've connected with the school counselors and communicate with them about specific kids. They will refer kids to me from time to time when they feel like Young Life would be a great fit for that kid.
Ultimate Frisbee Club
Along with another leader, I started an Ultimate Frisbee club that we do in the spring. We play once a week after school. It's not like coaching because all we do is play with the kids. It’s a very small time commitment, but it reaches kids who don't normally play sports.
I have a friend who started an "outdoor club" at the school where he leads. He has regular meetings and takes kids on biking and camping and fishing trips. It’s endorsed by the school, too.
We have had leaders proctor SATs.
Help with a School Club
I was taking sign language as a class in college. I e-mailed the advisor for the sign language club and asked if I could come to a few meetings because it was for an assignment. A few meetings turned into the whole year.
Helping School Fundraisers
We have worked a dance marathon fundraiser for Children's Miracle Network in the spring: doing mixers, games, etc at the school.
This is a great way to serve the school because most teachers hate chaperoning. We chaperone every dance the school has.
We have a leader who is the assistant marching band director at her school.
We had a leader who was the school’s assistant theater director. He just showed up at the beginning of the year and asked if he could help out.
The first person I met at the school was the athletic director. They usually need help somewhere: concessions, ticket-takers, track meets especially require many helpers: (timers, etc.) We have two schools where leaders earn a sports pass for the leadership team by working at athletic events.
Leaders have coached rec-league sports teams.
Sometimes I help at the concession stand at football games. It is a great way to meet other parents and you get to see everyone because they all want food.
We provided water for freshman class tailgate-the Student Government organized it and YL donated water and had committee and leaders there to interact with parents and freshman.
We’ve had a leader who simply ran with the cross-country team.
We will sometimes be on the football first-down chain gang. It’s a great way to be down on the field.
Leaders have adopted different groups and clubs by bringing a snack to the team or group once a week. All we had to do is get coach’s permission.
An Anonymous Post From A High School Principal
8 Things Every YL Leader Needs To Do
Do you have any ideas to add to the list? Email us here.