to Action Clubs
What is an action club?
|An action club is a group of children
and / or young people who volunteer their services to help make the
world a better place. Most action clubs work for their local communities
although others work for causes both national and international. Action
clubs rely on adult facilitators although this is not necessary for
action clubs whose members are sixteen and up. For more information
on these action clubs please click
do children and young people benefit from action clubs?
|The purpose of action clubs
is to develop in children through practical actions, the qualities
of compassion and a strong sense of community belonging. The aim is
to shift children's awareness off themselves and outward onto the
community. This empowers them by making them feel like they can personally
make a difference in the world, which gives their life more meaning.
It encourages them to feel accepted and useful in their communities
and society as they are contributing to it positively.
Other benefits include:
people in particular benefit from action clubs?
There is an important
opportunity in the lives of young people that is often overlooked and
consequently wasted: idealism and the need to overcome injustices, with
a little encouragement, develops naturally above the age of twelve. Normally
their idealism is sentimental rather than practical. At this time they
also have a lot of energy and they need to channel it. They need something
to do; they need a cause or causes. Through action clubs, their idealism
is channeled into practical, constructive actions that produce positive
results. Indeed, doing good deeds without any expectation of personal
reward encourages in them the natural self-development of good character.
best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.'
— Mahatma Gandhi
What age group are
action clubs aimed at?
Action clubs for
children start at five-years-old and up. Action clubs are, however, most
useful for young people twelve-years-old to eighteen. We have five different
types of action clubs based on age group to make it easier to choose the
best activities depending on the age of the members.
What are some of the activities action clubs can easily get involved
and visiting people in care homes; helping elderly people with their
gardens; taking gentle natured animals to visit people in care homes;
tree planting; protecting rainforests, coral reefs, wetlands; collecting
litter from natural environments; cleaning the local community; advocacy;
writing letters of support and encouragement for those in need; raising
money for good causes; putting on plays to raise community spirits;
helping refugees, disaster victims, homeless people, elderly people,
disabled people, sick and hungry people, animals; the list goes on
and on. For a more in-depth look please visit our 'Project
How to start an action club:
Starting an action club is free. All you need to do is follow our
To highlight the spiritual benefit to children
and young people of group volunteering we recently received an email from
a group of ladies who had just finished running a summer camp for children
using our charity children's book Shanti the Grass-eating Lion
to start an action club.
Here's a brief extract from
their kind feedback:
|'Jo read from Shanti
to the children on our first afternoon together. We started the day
with our opening circle in which each child lights a candle for our
circle and we sing to greet each other. We made a wishing tree for
our yurt in that time too. Then after lunch Jo led her session. She
read to the children and talked with them about Action Clubs. They
decided to go 'love raiding' to give appreciation to some of the adults
who give a great deal to make our camp work for everyone. I can't
tell you much about this because I ended up going off with one of
the 5 year olds to follow him a-wandering. I met the group with water
melon and apple when they returned, all very excited and full of their
adventures. They wanted to hear more of Shanti's story and I think
Jo might have ended up reading the whole book if I had not rescued
her at the end of a chapter and suggested that we close our session
now. She looked pretty tired to me from holding the space but she
was also lit up with joy and delight. Later in the camp she finished
reading the story, and though I don't think we made any more 'official'
excursions as an Action Club, many of the children continued with
random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty. Some of the
young boys cooked breakfast on the last day to help the cooks. We
are talking about feeding about 250 people. The gas canister ran out
while they were working and they had to fry dozens of eggs on an open
fire. They were magnificent. This was done by young boys between 10
How it all began for us
few years ago Korak Day began a school for under-privileged women
in one of the poorest and most dangerous parts of Kolkata, India.
As he used to make his way to and from the school, he noticed there
were many children loitering around, often getting into mischief and
trouble. Their parents were too poor to send them to school and to
Korak their future looked very bleak and hopeless. Life expectancy
in this place is very short especially if you are uneducated. So he
extended his school to them and now has over five hundred children.
early days he often used to notice that many in the local community,
particularly elderly people, were unable to clean up after themselves.
They needed help but how to go about helping them was another thing. It
was too much for him to do on his own. As the local area was a Muslim
area, Korak had been studying Islam in order to better understand the
local people and respect their culture. He came across a command given
by their prophet Muhammad that it is a Muslim's sacred duty to care for
and love his neighbour. It then went onto define a neighbour as everyone
in the forty houses to the north, south, east and west. This gave Korak
the idea for action clubs. So he gathered many of the children together
and told them that if they wished to be happy, they needed all those around
them to be happy. He then set them to work cleaning the neighbourhood.
This uplifted the whole community and made the children feel good about
what their efforts had achieved through seeing the smiles on the faces
of the people they had helped.
One of the main purposes of Shanti Action Clubs, is to take Korak's
example and spread it all over the world.
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