Lighthouses - Youth Led Project Ideas

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Youth in the province's Lighthouses programs help shape what will take place at each location on any given night. There is no shortage of great ideas, some of which are listed below.

+ Anti-vandalism and clean space projects

Through this community clean-up initiative, youth from your Lighthouses project can team up to make the neighbourhood litter free. Throwing out the garbage that collects in public spaces can make the area look better and add to community pride.

A youth team could do a major clean up at a near-by school that needs it. This project would not only improve the appearance of the school, but also set an example for other students. When students see that others care about the appearance of the school, they may think twice about vandalizing it.

Clean up a Park
Your Lighthouses group could clean up a local park or playground, making them safer, nicer places for young children to play. You'll be setting a good example and showing that you care about your neighbourhood.

Graffiti Removal
Spend an afternoon removing graffiti from nearby houses and businesses. Be sure someone from the group talks to the homeowners and businesses before you get started.

Plant a Tree
Trees are an important part of Manitoba's beauty. Your team could get permission to plant a tree in a space that is usually covered in litter, helping to keep our province beautiful and reminding those who litter to put garbage where it belongs. The tree you plant could have an even deeper meaning if it is dedicated to victims of violence or a cause that is important to your group.

+ Safety and crime prevention

Candlelight Vigil
Candlelight vigils can be held for many different reasons. Your group might want to hold a vigil to honour someone's memory, promote world peace or celebrate something good that has taken place.

Learn about conflict management techniques
A facilitator can be brought in to help teach your group conflict management and resolution techniques. Mediation Services in Winnipeg can be contacted for their advice.

Helping a Family That Has Been Hurt
Sometimes we hear of families whose lives have been affected by crime or misfortune. Perhaps their house has burned down or there has been a sudden death in the family. Lighthouses groups can do something to show compassion to neighbours in need. You could prepare a "thinking of you" card or letter, or you could cook them a meal as a group to show that they have support.

Crime Prevention Month
Crime Prevention Month is usually in November. Your group could plan something special for the month and get involved with the community by planning a crime prevention education program that could be offered to other schools.

Make Crime Prevention Gear
Your group could design buttons, stickers, refrigerator magnets or t-shirts with a crime prevention theme.

Shoplifting Prevention Education
Have a police officer come to your Lighthouses program to talk about the effect shoplifting has on prices, the laws related to theft and some of the cool things stores do to prevent theft.

Seatbelt Safety Campaign
Every year in Manitoba several people die in car accidents because they didn't wear a seatbelt. Your group can raise awareness about the benefits of buckling up and remind people that it's the law.

Drinking and Driving Counter Attack
Your group can think of creative ways to let people know about the danger of drinking and driving. Many people are killed and seriously injured every year because they got behind the wheel while drunk or stoned, or rode with someone else who was under the influence.

Crime Prevention tips on the School Public Address System
With the cooperation of your school, your group can write crime prevention tips to be read to students with the regular announcements. This could be a great opportunity to help students think about ways to stay safe.

Anti-Violence Movie Night
Many movies rely on violence to carry the story line. Your group can look at movies that deal with other ways to resolve conflict.

Distribute Crime Prevention Leaflets
Many people think making a community less prone to crime is expensive but there are many simple things that can be done to a house to make it less vulnerable to thieves. Your group can find out more about thief-proofing a home, put that information on leaflets you design and share it with the neighbourhood.

Hate Crime Awareness Week
Hate crimes are ones where someone is targeted just because they're not like their attacker. They can take many forms including vandalism and assault. Your Lighthouses group could have a Hate Crime Awareness Week to learn more, then teach others about who hate crimes target and the effect that it has. You could, for example, organize a skit or play about the subject.

Start a Safety Walk
Sometimes a parent can't pick up their child from school and the child must walk home alone. Your group could organize a club that walks younger kids home to make sure they get there safely.

+ Educational and pro-social topics

Create a Crime Prevention Page
Your Lighthouses program could engage the youth to build a crime prevention page or even its own home page.

Seek out Pen Pals
By writing to people in different countries, we can learn more about the world, make friends and gain valuable skills. Your group can connect with a local agency that arranges pen pal or e-mail pal relationships and help you meet other youth from around the globe.

Lighthouses programs could be used to help connect participants with mentors, and to have participants act as mentors to their peers. An information seminar can be organized to help youth learn more about how this can work.

Ask individuals in the Lighthouses group for their suggestions on the easiest ways to meet people and make it fun. Icebreakers are used to introduce people to each other.

+ Building community relationships

Sports Tournaments
Your Lighthouses group can arrange a tournament for basketball, volleyball, floor hockey and other gymnasium sports. A sports arena or community centre can be rented if your regular meeting place isn't set up for sports.

Tutor a Youth
Sometimes it's easier to understand a subject when a peer tutor explains it to you. Your Lighthouses program could put together a tutoring program or a homework club in a local school. Some of the best teachers from your school could be asked to help out.

Garden Assistance
Youth can learn more about gardening, then offer a helping hand to people in the neighbourhood who might really need it, especially in the spring and fall.

Invite a Neighbouring Group to Visit
Instead of seeing other Lighthouses groups as rivals invite them and their facilitators to visit your program. It's an opportunity to meet new friends and exchange great ideas.

Community Pride Day
Invite members of the community to get together to celebrate. Perhaps the group could organize a community feast or a potluck dinner. People who live in the neighbourhood and Lighthouses participants might have the talent to provide live entertainment. The day would provide a perfect opportunity for neighbours to get to know each other better, thus making your neighbourhood more friendly.

Community Talent Show
Wouldn't it be fun to discover unknown talents in your community? Your group could organize a talent show for youth or even for the whole community.

Learn About a Different Culture
Your Lighthouses group could examine a different culture each week or each month. Members of the group who belong to that culture and members of the community can come in to share their experiences and practices. The group can learn more about different parts of the world.

Police Appreciation Day
Police officers work year round to keep your community safe. Your group could get to know the officers in your area better and recognize their efforts by organizing a luncheon.

Community Forum
Few communities run perfectly. Most communities have issues that should be discussed. Setting up a community forum is an effective way to talk about these issues. Members of the government can be invited to come and discuss some of the issues, side by side with community members.

Adopt an Senior
Adopting an elder is the kind of initiative where everyone who participates comes out a winner. Many youth miss out on the opportunity to get to know their own seniors, and many seniors have a great deal to offer youth and would welcome the opportunity to have some interaction with young people.

Lip-sync Contest
Your group could organize a lip-syncing contest. Participants choose a favourite song then pretend to sing it.

Dance-a-thon, Walk-a-thons and Rope Jumping Marathons
Fun evenings and a great way to raise money can be organized together. A maximum of 4 or 5 hours can be scheduled so pledge amounts don't become outrageous. Don't forget to schedule breaks and make sure you have any licenses you require!

+ Events that address issues

Bookmarks with a Message
Cardboard, markers, string, glue, felt and enthusiasm are all that's needed to make bookmarks with a message about violence, racism, personal safety and other issues important to youth.

Tile Painting
A local hardware store could be asked to donate ceramic tiles. Interesting designs can be painted onto the tiles on any theme you choose. When the paint is dry the tiles can be sprayed with lacquer to protect them.

Health Fair
A health fair could be set up to address health issues that affect your community. Both physical and psychiatric ailments could be addressed. For example, your youth group could present information to the public on the dangerous effects of smoking, drugs, or low self-esteem. The fair could last a day, a weekend or an entire week if it suited your group.

Create a Comic Strip
Many schools produce a newsletter that is distributed to the students. Your group could create a crime prevention comic strip for the publication. Recruit an artistic schoolmate to do the drawings and work together as a team to address a serious matter in a fun way.

Your group could identify issues that are important to you and organize a conference around it. Your group could get together with other groups and the community to learn more about the issues by bringing in expert speakers and to try and find solutions for the problems that worry you.

Art Clubs
From painting to sculpture, art provides an amazing outlet for people to express themselves. Your Lighthouses group could organize an art club that provides the materials needed to create art, and could arrange for experts to be brought in to work with the group to learn different techniques in different media.

Card Games
Extra-curricular activities don't have to be athletic. Your Lighthouses group could start a card game club. Speak with the school to find out how a teacher can sponsor to supervise the club.

Your Lighthouses group could organize a parade, complete with banners, floats and bands planned around a theme week such as Crime Prevention Week. Meet with your group to make banners and posters that display a supportive message. This could also be a school event where each class marches with a different theme. Talk to your school principal and city counselors to see how they can support you with this project.

Drama Production
You may choose to do a play that has already been done or you many want to create your own drama production. Drama productions can be used as fundraisers, and can also be done to tackle issues such as bullying.

Performing Arts with a Message
Similar to the drama production suggested earlier, but with a wider range of performing arts involved. Your group might include stand-up comedy, dance and static art displays.

Anti-Stress Festival
Everyone experiences stress and most people would rather have more stress-free days. Your group can learn more about ways to relieve stress. Bring in an expert to teach the group about relaxation techniques, aromatherapy or yoga.

+ Promoting awareness of issues

Student Courts
Youth can create mock court cases to learn more about how the criminal justice system works. Choose a story like Jack and the Beanstalk, or Goldilocks and the Three Bears, then try the case to see what happens.

Mural Painting
Youth can choose a subject and paint a mural about it. Some successful themes include anti-racism, safe communities and safe schools. Permission will be needed if your group wants to paint its mural on a public space like the side of a building or a bridge support.

Teach Adults How to Work with Young People
No one knows better than youth what type of issues they face and how they can be helped along the path to adulthood. Adults often don't know how to approach youth to help them deal with issues. Your group can help by volunteering to serve on committees and helping adults hear the voices of youth. Work with adults to let them know what youths needs are.

+ Youth showing the community what can be done

"I Can Make a Difference" Campaign
Everyone can make a difference in his or her community. Youths can devote a day or a week for this campaign. Individuals in the group can identify ways they believe they have made a difference, and make a commitment to making a contribution to the community.

Lyric Writing or Rap Music Contest
Have youth write new lyrics to an existing song or write their own rap. They could generate their own themes for these lyrics, including some ideas that focus on crime prevention topics.

Newsletter Created by Youth for Youth
Create a team of reporters for a newsletter written by and for youth. Whether printed or posted on the Web, the newsletter can emphasize the great things that youth are doing in your area. Your group can ask for articles from other Lighthouses groups to include in the publication.

Testimonial Dinner
To recognize the great things that youth do in the community, your Lighthouses group could put on a special awards event dinner to congratulate them. Key guests from the community, including the mayor, could be invited.

Lighthouses Pride Day
Many adults will soon be aware that youth go to a Lighthouses program to occupy some of their free time, but they probably don't know what you do there. Host an open house to show the community the good things your group is up to.

Craft Fair
Youth in your Lighthouses program probably have many skills and talents. Your group could make candles, build shelves, make baskets, do beadwork or whatever other crafts they're interested in for a craft fair. The event could raise money for charity or for future events.

+ Promoting family and friendship values

Thank a Significant Adult in Your Life Campaign
Almost everyone has some adult they consider to be a role model, mentor, or someone to talk to when they have nowhere else to turn. These special people don't usually expect thanks, but wouldn't it be nice to let them know that you appreciate what they do for you. Perhaps your Lighthouses group can arrange a special thank you event for the special adults in their lives.

Family Night
Lighthouses groups can set up a family night, perhaps once a month, when people can get together as a group. You can also do simple things such as tell stories or talk about events and activities going on in the neighbourhood. This is an excellent way for way for parents to better understand what Lighthouses are all about.