You will be helping him with school, and at the same time, teaching a life lesson about the value of helping others.

Here are some ideas for service you can perform with your middle school child:

• Spruce things up. Pick up trash around the neighborhood to get a good start on community service.

• Offer to help a neighbor. You could run an errand together for a senior citizen or bake cookies for a new family.

• Circulate a petition. Does your neighborhood need a stop sign? You and your child could take a petition around the neighborhood. Then your child could write a letter to a local government official explaining the problem. Have him include the petition.

• Start a toy or clothing drive. Help your child collect items your neighbors no longer need. Then help him take them to an agency that can distribute them to needy families.

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