Wondering what to do with your Youth Group this summer? Is this an off-year for summer mission trips, where you’ll be sticking close to home, but would still like to do a service project? Here’s an idea that’s fun, good for the environment, and will help connect people within your church and the community.
- Hold an E-Waste Recycling Drive at your church. Many state laws now require special recycling measures to prevent the toxic materials in electronics from entering the normal waste stream: http://www.ecyclingresource.org/ContentPage.aspx?Pageid=28. Many people in your congregation and the surrounding community have old computers and other electronics lying around that they would like to get rid of, but for one reason or another just haven’t. You’d be performing a valuable service for your community that would improve the image of your church.
- Recruit youth to help with the E-Waste Drive, and talk to those who are particularly interested and gifted with technology to help determine if any of the computers being donated might be “upcycled”. Many old computers are capable of running free and lightweight operating systems like Ubuntu or Jolicloud. These are good for basic internet access, and Ubuntu includes a free word processing program as well. Special note: remind those bringing in computers and other devices to erase all their data in advance. It’s probably a good idea to format all the drives again just to be sure; you can Google how to do that fairly easily.
- Help the youth determine who in your congregation might not have regular access to a computer, like senior citizens or low-income parishioners, and give them one of the computers or laptops you “upcycled” with the free operating system.
- Have the youth teach the recipient how to do basic computer functions, including accessing the internet, and perhaps even registering them for a Facebook account so they can participate in your church’s Facebook page!
Try it at your church and let us know how it went!