Plan an Awareness Event
Special in-school events are a great way to inform your entire school community about an issue, build support among students and teachers, and get everyone excited. Is there a guest speaker or organization that can come teacher your entire grade or the school about your issue and ways to make a difference? Can you invite your entire school to participate in one activity– dress in one color to school, wear mismatched socks, watch a video about your issue, wear a silly hat, wear a sticker to show their support for your cause? Can you hang posters around your school to educate others about your issue? (see “Design Posters to Raise Awareness” section below!) Planning an in-school event or awareness campaign can help you get the support of your classmates and teachers. If you have an idea for an event, be sure to talk with you teacher first and then your school principal– you will need their approval!
- Kid Governor Spotlight: 2019 Oregon’s Kid Governor Erikka Baldwin ran on the platform Helping Dogs and Cats Find Their Forever Homes. She encouraged schools to establish Fur-Ever Families programs by partnering with local animal shelters to plan meet and greet events.
- Kid Governor Spotlight: 2018 Connecticut’s Kid Governor Megan Kasperowski ran on the platform Stronger Than Cancer: Lifting Spirits & Changing Lives. She encouraged schools to plan “Hat Day” events to show support for cancer patients who lose their hair during treatment and wear hats for protection from the sun. She created a planning worksheet to help schools plan a hat day.
Design a Hands-On Project
Is there an activity or project that kids can do to support your community issue? Can students do a community cleanup for your platform of too much litter in parks? Can they distribute messages of kindness to students to tackle the problem of too much bullying? Think about simple projects that people of all ages can do to support your issue, no matter where they live!
- Kid Governor Spotlight: 2019 New Hampshire’s Kid Governor Lola Giannelli ran on the platform Helping Animals. She encouraged communities to make dog toys from old t-shirts to support her platform to end animal cruelty. She made a tutorial video to teach people how to make the toys.
- Kid Governor Spotlight: 2016 Connecticut’s Kid Governor Elena Tipton ran on the platform Campaign for Kindness. She asked students to designate, decorate, or build “Buddy Benches” on their local playgrounds. She created a guide to help students do this project.
Design Posters to Raise Awareness
Posters can be good tools for educating your school or community about an issue. Some awareness posters have pictures, some have information and words, and some have both! As part of your action plan, you might decide to create a poster about your issue to distribute, or you might invite others to design their own posters. Remember: whether you are hanging posters in your school or in the community, you must ask permission before hanging!
- Kid Governor Spotlight: 2018 Connecticut’s Kid Governor Megan Kasperowski ran on the platform Stronger Than Cancer: Lifting Spirits & Changing Lives. She coordinated a statewide poster contest inviting students to submit artwork that raised awareness of cancer. The winning designs were distributed to schools statewide for their “Hat Day” awareness events.
- Kid Governor Spotlight: 2019 Connecticut’s Kid Governor Ella Briggs ran on the platform Pride-Hope-Love. To raise awareness of the need for adoptions of LGBTQ+ youth, she coordinated a statewide poster contest with the Department of Children and Families. Students were invited to submit artwork that answered the question “What does Pride-Hope-Love mean to your family?” The winning designs were used to promote the adoption of LGBTQ+ kids in foster care.
Plan a Collection Drive
One way to make a difference around an issue may be to hold a collection drive. A collection drive invites your classmates, teachers, and/or the community to donate items that will help others. They are a good way to increase awareness for your issue and generate support from others.
- Kid Governor Spotlight: 2019 Connecticut’s Kid Governor Cabinet Member Reilly Bard ran on a platform of supporting kids in the foster care system. To support this platform, she collected toiletry and personal care items from classmates, family members, and friends to donate to local family centers.
- Kid Governor Spotlight: 2017 Connecticut’s Kid Governor Jessica Brocksom ran on the platform Helping Animals: Those Without a Voice. She encouraged students to hold supply drives in their schools to support their local pound or shelter and created a planning worksheet to help.
Who Can I Ask to Help Me?
There are people in your school community who may be interesting in helping with your community issue and action plan. Here’s how to find them and ask for their help:
- Prepare by practicing how you describe your chosen community issue, why it’s important, and your action plan in a minute or less.
- Make a list of specific tasks you need others to help with. These tasks may include making posters, organizing an event or collection, writing letters, talking to other students or community leaders, etc.
- As your teacher for a few minutes of class time to talk to your classmates about your plan. Use your one-minute speech to explain your community issue, action plan, and to ask for volunteers. You can also ask to be excused from class for a few minutes to visit other classes, with permission from the other teachers.
- Ask your principal if you can ask for help during your school announcements using your one minute speech.
- Ask your Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) or Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) if you can share your action plan and ask for their help at their next meeting.