The first thing to do is to make sure you or another educator is absolutely committed to being an adult supervisor/advisor to this student group. If you can get other faculty members involved to support you, that’s even better!
Check to see if there is a Rotary Club or Kiwanis Club near your school that will help you sponsor the club as an Interact Club or Key Club. These national service organizations have resources, networking with other clubs and guidelines to help you get started and keep the club going.
Whether your club is affiliated with a national service organization or you do it on your own, be sure to share your experience and post questions here on iSpot. Start a group discussion for community service club leaders.
Next, start a dialogue with your school’s superintendent and principal to discuss your ideas and prospective goals. Once you have approval, get the word out there to the students! Make announcements in all of your classes and ask fellow faculty members to do the same. Additionally, is there a school newspaper and website you can use to advertise? Are there daily announcements over the school’s intercom? Is there a club fair coming up where you could have a booth with information and cookies to give out? Can you make posters?
At Santa Cruz High School the iSpot Compassion™ team recruited five students from the University of California at Santa Cruz to present the idea of the club to the high school students. They are a lot cooler than parents or teachers and made the idea of the club fun. If there is a college near the school, ask some of the college students to work with you. It’s a win-win. Click here to learn more about how college students can help.
As you probably know, the students who are most likely to be interested in this sort of club are going to be those involved in leadership groups, on the sports teams, putting on the school plays and musicals; the most involved and active kids on campus. These people also tend to be the most outgoing and proactive, which can only help you to reach more people! Assemble a list of names, email addresses, and phone numbers and set up a meeting. Choose a time that is conducive to most kids’ schedules. These kids probably have a million extra curricular activities, so scheduling a meeting after school may be difficult. Aim for a lunchtime meeting and provide food! Free food is an excellent way to get kids to attend your meeting and they may even bring their friends.
At the first meeting, talk about your ideas and then open up the discussion to the students. Collectively come up with a club name. Do you want to be the Community Service club? Or do you want something a little spicier, like the Compassion Club? For more ideas on starting a club and running the initial meeting, please see our iSpot Compassion Week toolkit. Finally, obtain a list of committed students and nominate officers. When picking officers it is best if they are from different social circle’s at school, not only does this help break down cliques and it will help reach more students.
Remember, your club can use our site as a place to brainstorm and connect with others (and each other!), get inspired by projects other people have done, or connect with organizations. Have each group member start a SPOT (profile) on our site, allowing each individual to keep track of their projects over time and to hopefully inspire other students. To do this, click “sign up to begin”.
Also take advantage of the group of students who are excited to make a difference, introduce them to new issues and topics. Lead discussions that have students critically analyze issues, this will lead them to self-reflect on their own lives and actions. Remember a Community Service club is not only about making a difference in the community but also making a difference in the student’s life.