Each young woman will understand the importance of community service.
Obtain a picture of a landmark in your community.
Optional: Prepare a map of your city, state, or nation. Cut it into four pieces (or more if you wish) like a jigsaw puzzle. On the front of each puzzle piece, write the name of an area of community service, as shown in the illustration. These could include such things as health services, social services, political involvement, and cultural endeavors. On the back of each piece should be suggestions for community service you have gathered from your area. You could use the suggestions in the third section of the lesson and add some of your own.
Assign young women to present any stories, scriptures, or quotations you wish.
Suggested Lesson Development
Picture and teacher presentation
Display the picture of the community landmark.
Explain that a community is made up of a group of people who live together in one area and share many laws, interests, and traditions. Regardless of the size of that community, every resident has an effect on the others who live there. A young woman can be an influence for good in her community by becoming involved in some kind of community service.
It Is Important for Young Women to Serve in the Community
Chalkboard and discussion
Why do you think it is important for Latter-day Saints to serve in their communities? Let the young women discuss, and write their answers on the chalkboard.
The following ideas may be included:
There are many people in the community who need help and have few people to give it to them.
As we serve in the community, we can share the blessings of the gospel with people who do not have them.
We want our communities to be wholesome places to raise families, and we can do much to maintain high standards.
What groups of people in our community need help? (The groups will vary according to your community, but they may include elderly people who are in rest homes or who live alone and cannot take care of all their needs, patients in hospitals, children who do not have proper care, refugees from other countries, physically and mentally disabled people.)
Explain that there are often government and social agencies who help these people, but they are not able to do everything that needs to be done.
Tell the following true story:
Linda was a young woman from the United States living in a town far away from her home. She lived in an apartment building and had noticed that her neighbors were from another country and could not speak English very well. She was uncertain and a little scared about meeting them, but one day she decided to think of something she could do to get to know them. She made a dessert typical of her country and took it to them. They were delighted to have a friend with whom they could practice their English. They invited her to dinner, and they soon got to know each other well.
One of the neighbors was a twelve-year-old boy who was having a hard time in school because his English was poor. Linda offered to come to his house twice a week and help him with his reading. The boy worked hard, and soon he and Linda were such good friends that they often swam, went to movies, and did other things together that helped him learn about his new country.
How do you think this boy and his family felt about the service that Linda gave to them?
Explain that when we serve in the community, we can share the blessings of the gospel with those who do not have them.
Elder L. Tom Perry said:
“We have been blessed with the light of the gospel to lead us and to guide and direct our lives. Through our understanding and study of the scriptures, we have a knowledge of the laws of the Lord by which we should govern our earthly conduct. With this great blessing comes an obligation to be part of the communities in which we live. Our influence should be felt to safeguard the moral standards in the villages, in the towns, and in the cities where our homes are located in all parts of the world. I challenge you to become involved in lifting the moral standards of the communities where your homes are” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1977, p. 89; or Ensign, May 1977, p. 61).
If you were working in the community with some people who were not members of the Church, in what ways could you share the blessings of the gospel with them? Encourage the young women to think of as many ways as they can.
They might mention such things as being an example of Christian service, encouraging those you work with to observe high standards in their community work, and finding opportunities to talk about how the gospel blesses lives.
Point out that as the young women work to serve their community, they will be helping to improve the community for the future. These contributions could even benefit their own children someday.
Why do you think many people do not serve in their communities? Let the young women mention several reasons.
Explain that since we belong to a family, a church, and a community, there are many demands on our time. The following quotation helps us understand what our priorities should be:
“While Latter-day Saints should engage in community causes, they should maintain a good balance. Their family should come first. Church activity should not be neglected. …
“For the well-organized Latter-day Saint, there usually is time to be a concerned, involved citizen. It may mean one or two fewer television shows a week, or one less ball game a month—but it is worth it. Even more, it is vital, if we are to have the kind of communities we need for a full-flowering of gospel living and the joy that is its reward” (Wendell J. Ashton, Ensign, Dec. 1977, pp. 24–25).
What are some things that you could do to make more time for community service in your life?
There Are Many Ways Young Women Can Serve the Community
Explain that there are many ways we can be of service in our community. Distribute the sections of the community service map. Ask a young woman to read each list aloud and add to it if she has any ideas. Ask for suggestions from other class members as well. After reading the list, the young woman should secure her section of the map to the wall or a poster board in its correct position.
Health services: Visit and talk to elderly people in your own family and neighborhood; make clothes and food for people who are sick; take care of sick children in a hospital or in your neighborhood; read to the elderly in a rest home; take flowers to patients who have no families; on special holidays, remember people who are sick.
Political involvement: Distribute information to neighbors about local issues or candidates for office; make telephone calls to encourage people to vote; attend meetings on civic issues.
Social services: Help organize or lead groups that help youth develop skills; demonstrate sewing, cooking, or crafts to those in orphanages and community schools or to those who are disabled; teach language skills to those who do not speak your language; read to the blind.
Cultural endeavors: Offer to distribute programs at community theater and musical productions; act as a hostess or guide at an art exhibit; participate in theater productions, choruses, orchestras, or promotional services for such a group.
Tell the young women that the completed map represents the many large or small things that can be done to improve a community.
Ask the young women to share any experiences they may have had in community service. Share experiences you have had, or tell one of the following stories.
The dressing room at the community swimming pool was an eyesore. Lipstick was smeared on the walls, the lockers were scratched with initials and names, and the window blinds were torn and dirty. Several of the young women in the town said they did not enjoy swimming anymore because of the condition of the building. The swimming coach suggested that the young women paint and decorate the women’s dressing room during their summer vacation. The young women collected money for paint and new window blinds from patrons of the swimming pool. They painted, hung new blinds, and made hangers for some large houseplants that were donated. The improvement was so noticeable that many people made favorable comments to the young women. It was enjoyable for them to swim there as well as for all other patrons of the pool.
A young woman who lived near a university was asked by her friend to help distribute programs at various cultural events held in the university theater. She received no pay for her services but was allowed to sit in an unoccupied seat after each performance started. She saw many exciting musical productions, ballets, and dramas. The experience led her to a lifetime of appreciation for cultural arts.
Explain that even though service is an unselfish act, the giver receives many benefits and great personal growth. Discuss a few of these benefits, such as developing talents, gaining knowledge, growing spiritually, and developing a love for those in need.
Explain that each young woman will need to assess her own talents and abilities along with the amount of time she can devote to community service. By serving she will be able to bring Latter-day Saint standards and values into the community. In addition she will develop the habit of service.
Suggest that the young women assess their time and choose a community service project that will fit into their schedules.
As a class, participate in a group service project for your community.