Are you in a service rut with the teens in your family or youth group? It seems as if there is an unwritten rule stating all teen service projects must involve painting some portion of a building or doing yard-work. By relying on the same types of service projects over and over (often with only the locale changing), we are denying our teens an opportunity to explore how they can use some of their talents for God.
Recently, we had a few teen girls over to our house to work on a project. Going into this project, all of them claimed to have minimal artistic talent. Yet as you can see, the results were adorable. The girls were making these particular onsies for their youth minister’s new baby. This project would be great for the girls to do again and donate the finished products to shelters catering to mothers and infants who are abused or homeless.
The cost was minimal, as I am learning to keep some basic craft supplies on hand. I purchased onsies in packs at a retailer for about $2 each. If I had more time, I probably could have gotten the cost down to $1 each. We used scraps of fabric (I also purchased some quilting quarters for extra baby fabrics), fabric markers and one pack of Heat and Bond Ultra Hold. We made 10 onsies out of one package (17 in x 1 yd) of Heat and Bond and had enough left over to make more. (Note: Other brands may work, but I was frankly overwhelmed at all of the choices. The nice lady at JoAnn’s chose this brand for me and it seemed to work well.)
The girls found free patterns on the internet or drew their own. After cutting out the fabric, they cut enough of the heat and bond to exactly match their design. A hot iron and a few seconds later the design is a permanent part of the onsie – no sewing needed! (A plus for me for sure.) If you have a talented seamstress, she could stitch around the edge of each design for extra hold. The girls finished some of the designs by adding sayings and even a joke!
I encourage you to take another look at your teens. What are some more creative ways they can serve others? It may take a little more preparation on your part, but you will also be encouraging them to discover new gifts and become more creative in their service to others. I would love to hear about your creative youth service projects. Feel free to share projects you have done with your teens in a comment below.