Mitzvah Project Ideas – Community Service Projects

5 Steps to The Perfect Mitzvah Project for Your Bar/Bat Mitzvah Child

Bar & Bat Mitzvah Project Ideas, Community Service ProjectsYour child is approaching Bar/Bat Mitzvah age and celebrations are in order! In addition to party planning and learning religious ritual, many synagogues require students to complete volunteer service in the form of a Mitzvah Project. Connecting this activity to your child’s interests can turn the Mitzvah Project into one of the most meaningful and fulfilling aspects of the process!

Here are some helpful steps for finding the perfect Mitzvah Project that will commemorate his or her transition into adulthood and engage your child’s passions too.

  1. Brainstorm: Sit down with your child to see what it is this project means to him/her. With this maturing age, you can ask questions like “What are you passionate about?” and “How do you think you can make a difference?” Think about the different types of community service, including volunteer work, fundraising, and/or organizing a charitable drive or initiative. Finding something that sparks an interest will inspire them to get involved.

  1. Research: Community service opportunities are unlimited. Identify a need and search for organizations in your area that may require a helpful hand. Areyvut has a great listing of organizations, as does The Mitzvah Bowl.  As your child learns about a given cause, it will help them to understand the ways in which they can contribute and further connect them to their project. To kickstart your search, we’ve included some examples below.
  1. Check with your Rabbi/Cantor: A Rabbi or Cantor can be a great person to turn to that knows your child, as well as opportunities throughout the Jewish community to contribute. There may also be several ways to provide service to your synagogue. Whether it be helping with younger children’s activities or caring for the garden, your rabbi or cantor may have opportunities that will engage your child to give back. What better place to start than your own temple!
  1. Get creative: With a cause in mind, explore all the ways to incorporate your child’s passions. Break down ideas by interest like in this guide by The Mitzvah Bowl. For a child interested in art, look into hosting a gallery to raise money for a cause. Is your child into sports? Have them volunteer coaching hours for the youth leagues in your community. Consider a starting a book drive, for a child passionate about reading. There are so many ways to get them inspired; have them explore the possibilities and see what they come up with!
  1. Start a fundraising campaign: When you’ve found a meaningful and engaging idea, it’s often times a great idea to raise money for the cause. Services like Deposit A Gift provide a platform to expand the reach of your child’s project through an online fundraising campaign.  This can help your child make an even bigger impact. These tools can also teach your child important skills like project management and how to run a fundraising campaign.

Tailoring service opportunities to meet your child’s interests will make the Mitzvah Project both significant and enjoyable. This is a time for kids to understand the ways in which they can positively influence society. Their service doesn’t have to end once the project is completed. Have your party favors include donations to a cause or invitations for guests to volunteer too. Engaging your child’s passion while also benefitting the community may even keep them connected to their causes for years to come.

Some Mitzvah Project Ideas:

Israel & Jewish Causes:

Animals:

  • The Humane Society has an outreach program that will work the the bar or bat mitzvah child to incorporate animals into their mitzvah projects

Medicine & Health:

  • When teeny, tiny toddlers need lotsa love and lotsa laughs…
    Help raise funds for fun trips and parties for children in Israel who are dealing with a monster named Cancer! Support Ezer Mizion’s Cancer Support Division.
  • Help Fragile-X, an organization dedicated to helping people with a genetic condition that is the most common cause of autism. Because it is genetic, it can be studied and hopefully solve part of the autism puzzle.

Sports & Travel:

  • Work with I Can Shine, an amazing traveling program that is designed to teach kids with all types of disabilities and special needs how to ride a bike. They do this with special rollers instead of wheels that gradually become thinner at the sides and harder to balance.  The son of Joyce Kreger, founder of Cool Party Favors, was in this program (and has Fragile X) and can independently ride a bike.  This would be great cause for a sports theme Bar or Bat Mitzvah.
  • Soccer for Peace promotes shared society in Israel through operating joint soccer and dialogue activities for Arab and Jewish children from Israel. The children learn to recognize each other’s humanity through the programming, thereby creating a context in which dialogue and mutual understanding can be reached.

Children & Education:

  • SCOPE (Summer Camp Opportunities Promote Education) provides camp scholarships for children in need to attend overnight summer camps. Your Mitzvah Project can help give kids, who otherwise couldn’t afford it, the chance to experience the magic of camp!

Fashion & Style:

  • Adaptive Design Association - Kids For Kids Mitzvah Project offers an interactive experience for guests by letting them sign a modern, custom sign-in chair. Donations help kids with disabilities
  • Hoods That Help – A local team is collecting sweatshirts to donate, including bar & bat mitzvah sweatshirt favors, school, camp and team sweatshirts that they have outgrown or no longer wear.
  • One Warm Coat – An organization with a simple mission — to provide a coat to any one in need.  Young Jewish teens can host a One Warm Coat drive as part of their mitzvah celebration.

Other important causes include:
– The Arts
– Civil Rights & Equality
– The Environment
– International Issues
– Poverty & Hunger

Are you a charitable organization with available bar & bat mitzvah projects? Contact Us to be added to this list today!

Charity can also extend to the event itself:

  • Tzedakah – As part of, or in addition to, the mitzvah project, many families choose to donate to a charity that is meaningful to them.  A Tzedakah or Green Theme is becoming more popular, where everything from the centerpieces and décor to the favors benefit the community in some way. Check out ideas for hosting a Charity-Inspired Bar or Bat Mitzvah.

Some venues also give back to the community. The Prince George Ballroom donates 100% of its net revenue to NYC outreach programs to help the homeless and others in need.

  • Donate Food – A bat or bar mitzvah is a perfect opportunity to give back to those less fortunate.  A great way to give back is by donating your leftover food to local food banks!  Find a local food bank or food rescue operation at Feeding America.
  • Donate Centerpieces – After the simcha, you can donate your centerpieces and arrangements to synagogues, hospitals, nursing homes, or other locations.

Companies such as Life O’ The Party are providers of the Centerpieces for Tzedaka for the NNJ Federation and Bergen Reads Program. This is gaining in popularity for centerpieces and Bima pieces.

You can also donate to an organization such as Special E, which  re-purpose flowers and centerpieces in ways that benefit our planet and people in need.

Are you a charitable organization with available bar & bat mitzvah projects? Contact Us to be added to this list today!

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