Tag Archives: serving

Hopelifter by Kathe Wunnenberg

Sharing Hope {Book Review – Hopelifter by Kathe Wunnenberg}

We’ve been in situations where we desperately need help and hope, and we’ve been on the other side where we’re able to offer that help and hope.

And, sometimes, we can be both in a trying circumstance and still able to offer encouragement to others.

Hopelifter by Kathe Wunnenberg Hopelifter by Kathe Wunnenberg (Zondervan, 2013) shares concrete and creative ways to “spread hope when life hurts.” Kathe has endured numerous hurtful circumstances herself and has invaluable experience in helping others through hurt. Kathe defines “hopelifting” as “for anyone who wants to make a difference in hurting lives and spread the hope and comfort of God through creative compassion” (p. 18).

Parts 1 and 2 of this book discuss what hope is, where to find it, why we need it, and why we can give it in twelve chapters. Hope can be found in a person, place, possession, or connection, and we can use creativity to feed others through all these ways. Kathe uses personal testimony and others’ stories to share examples of sharing and receiving hope. She offers reasonable thoughts and encouragement focused on God as the source of all hope.

Part 3 gives 100 “recipes of hope” to help specific needs (like loss of a pet, transitions, stroke, miscarriage, and more). These ideas are arranged in one-page categories listed alphabetically. Written by other contributors, each tells a story of that type of event (like addiction, adoption, loss, new job, etc.), and then offers practical ways to spread hope. Some suggestions were similar (pray for them and point them to Christ), but others included those foundational acts along with very practical, specific ideas. Many of these ideas help encourages us to serve when we’re not sure exactly how to help.Quote from Hopelifter by Kathe Wunnenberg

Kathe says to be a hopelifter, “all you need is a willing heart and ready hands and feet” (p. 24), and she shows that throughout this book. This book inspires me to act on my ideas of serving others and spread hope as often as I can in very specific ways.

What kind of situation do you want to know how to help someone? How have you received help and hope when life hurt?

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free from the BookSneeze program in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Preschool Community Helpers Unit via Under God's Mighty Hand - A huge list of resources, book lists, and activity ideas for several "community helper" occupations. Plus, a free printable of a "My Town's Community Helpers" photo book template!

Community Helpers Unit for Preschool {Huge List of Resources and Activities!}

My preschooler recently became fascinated with police officers, firefighters, and sirens (partially thanks to this episode of Signing Time).

While he’s interested seems like the perfect time to work in a “community helpers” unit!

Because we love book-based activities around here, we checked out a LOAD of “community helpers” books from the library to accompany our activities.

As I found more great activities, this unit grew, so we’re stretching this unit out over almost 3 weeks. (He’s loving it so far, so I’m going with it!)

Preschool Community Helpers Unit via Under God's Mighty Hand - A huge list of resources, book lists, and activity ideas for several "community helper" occupations. Plus, a free printable of a "My Town's Community Helpers" photo book template!

Occupations we covered:

-general “community helpers” activities
-garbage/recycling collectors
-police officers
-mail carriers
-emergency medical technicians (EMT/paramedic)

Our general plan: Spend 1-3 days on each occupation, reading one book and completing one activity (possibly two) each day. (Around 30 minutes total each day, not including any location visits.)

Read below for quick recaps of the activities we’re doing, plus two product reviews. These activities are geared toward preschool age, and you’ll notice a few modifications I used for my son’s special needs. Be sure to check out the awesome links throughout and take a look at the end of the post for a free printable!

General Community Helper Activities

Check out the books we gathered for this unit:

Preschool Community Helpers Unit via Under God's Mighty Hand

My son especially liked the “A Day in a Life” series. He kept picking up those books in particular and flipping through them on his own.

We completed two days of general activities about community helpers. (Disclosure: I was given a free copy of the following two products from Stone’s Education in exchange for my honest review. See full disclosure at the end of this post.) These “Community Helpers: Fun-to-Know Puzzles” cards made by Trends Enterprises were a great introduction to various helper occupations. As we flipped through a general community helpers book, we paired up a community helper with his or her work tool. This puzzle set comes with twenty person-tool pairs, allowing for a good variety of occupations. Each puzzle pairs up in a unique way, so if kids try to pair up the doctor’s prescription pad with the teacher, the puzzle pieces won’t fit.

Preschool Community Helpers Unit via Under God's Mighty Hand

Another day, we tried out this Listening Lotto: Community Helpers game (manufactured by Carson-Dellosa). I was extremely interested in trying this activity out, especially with my son being such a visual learner. The game comes with a CD of audio clues, 12 game boards (enough for a co-op or small class), and 120 small paper markers. The audio CD calls out descriptions of community helpers, and the child marks the appropriate person on his or her card. Though you could choose to have a “winner,” we typically choose to play until each person’s card is filled.

Preschool Community Helpers Unit via Under God's Mighty Hand

The phrases the audio tracks used are very age appropriate for preschool and early elementary (“find the person on your game card who cooks at a restaurant” or “find the person on your game card who helps us when we are hurt or sick”). The tracks themselves are only 10-15 seconds long, so I did have to pause the tracks to allow time for my visual learner to think and look for the answer. (Older kids would be able to move quicker.) Perhaps due to my son’s special needs, he needed help occasionally with a few extra keywords or signs, but I helped less than I thought I would! He caught on to how to play the game quickly. A few of the pictures could be a little confusing for younger ages, but practice quickly increases familiarity. This game is especially good for review, but could also be used as an introduction to the unit to gauge what kids know. It’s a great activity for transferring audio clues to visual representation.

Preschool Community Helpers Unit via Under God's Mighty Hand

We also used some location photos and these community helper cards to match the person with the location. (I got these from Stone’s Education a good while ago. They seriously have a rockin’ catalog.) I set 4 photos out at a time, gave him one helper card, and asked him where that person worked. A very simple, but effective activity.

Preschool Community Helpers Unit via Under God's Mighty Hand

Specific Community Helper Books and Activities


Book: A Day in the Life of a Librarian
Activity: Go to story time! Make “thank you” cards for two librarians.

Doctors and Nurses

Books: A Day in the Life of a Doctor and A Day in the Life of a Nurse
Activity: Travel to medical appointment. Take “thank you” cards for a doctor and a nurse!

Books: Doctors in Our Community and Community Helpers: Doctors
Activity: Pretend play with bear! We took Bear’s temperature and tried to do a mini check-up on Bear. Pretend play challenges my boy, so this activity only lasted a few minutes.

Preschool Community Helpers Unit via Under God's Mighty Hand


Books: A Day in the Life of a Farmer and Community Helpers: Farmers
Activity: Go strawberry picking! Take “thank you” card to farmer.

Garbage and Recycling Collectors

Book: A Day in the Life of a Garbage Collector
Activity: Recycling Center sorting – A simple sorting activity with some recycling materials. I placed out two bowls and several pieces each of paper and cans.

Recycling Center Sorting as part of a Preschool Community Helpers Unit via Under God's Mighty Hand

The first round, I put one can in one bowl and one piece of paper in the other bowl. I asked my son to finish sorting. He did with lightning speed! The second round, I left both bowls empty and asked my son (with much fewer directions) to put the cans in one bowl and the paper in the other bowl. He completed this task, too. Categorizing can be tough for kids with special needs. I was pretty excited about his performance.

Recycling Center Sorting activity as part of a Preschool Community Helpers Unit via Under God's Mighty Hand

Book: Community Helpers: Garbage Collectors
Activity: Shapes Garbage Truck craft from No Time for Flash Cards
We followed this activity fairly closely to how she describes it. Modification: I created a “model” of the craft first. Then I had my son follow the steps as described in Allison’s post. My fella needed a little guidance at the beginning, but then finished the craft much more independently!

Preschool Community Helpers Unit via Under God's Mighty Hand

Police Officers

Books: A Day in the Life of a Police Officer and Community Helpers: Police Officers
Activity: We completed portions of Homeschool Creation’s police officer PreK pack, including the tracing, clip ‘n learn, counting and fingerprint book activities.

Book: What Does a Police Officer Do?
Activity: Stoplight Craft from Homeschool Creation’s Kindergarten police officer pack. Visit police station and take “thank you” note!

Mail Carriers

Book: Community Helpers: Mail Carriers
Activity: “Write” (or scribble or color) letters to family members and really mail them! Let child put stamps on and place letters in the mailbox. (Coming soon: a post on our new “writing center” for preschoolers! Stay tuned!) Also, give “thank you” to mail carrier (or go to post office).


Book: Community Helpers: Firefighters
Activity: Portions of Homeschool Creation’s Preschool Firemen Printable Pack, including matching cards, tracing sheets, and size sorting activities.

Book: A Day in the Life of a Firefighter
Activity: Shapes Fire Truck craft from Teach Preschool. We’ll modify this activity similar to how we modified the garbage truck craft earlier.

Bonus activity: Fire station tour! Many town fire stations allow tours for families or small groups if you call ahead to schedule one. After our tour, we’ll pretend play with our diaper box fire truck, modeled after this one from No Time for Flash Cards.

Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs)

Books: A Day in the Life of an EMT and Community Helpers: EMTs
Activity: Visit EMT station and take “thank you” card. We wrapped up reading this “Community Helpers” emergent reader, too.

We tried to visit a local example of each location throughout this unit. At each stop, we took a “thank you” card with colorful scribbles from the kids and a small plate of fruit and candy as a small gift of gratitude for their service. (I kept trying to think of something kind and useful to give that would stay in our budget, too, and couldn’t think of much else. Any ideas? Please let me know in the comments!)

Preschool Community Helpers Unit via Under God's Mighty Hand

A Personalized Community Helper Book

Also at each location, I tried to take a picture of the building/location itself and a photo of my son with one of the community helpers. At the end of the unit, we’re making a simple “My Town’s Community Helpers” book to read and love! And, if it blesses you, you can download a copy of the template I made for free!

A FREE "My Town's Community Helpers" photo book template plus lots of resources, book lists, and activity ideas for a preschool community helpers unit at Under God's Mighty Hand

Each “helper” has two pages. One page has a sentence about that community helper and a place for a photo. The other page has a sentence about where that community helper works and a place for a location photo. You can paste 3″ x 5″ photos on each page or insert the photos digitally with PDF-editing software (or even draw pictures if you’d prefer not to use photos). After printing, you can bind the pages one right after another, or flip the pages so that you have a two-page spread each time you turn a page. We usually hole punch the “spine” and tie the book together with yarn. I might laminate these after we attach our photos, too!

Click this link to download the My Towns Community Helpers Photo Book Template PDF! (Thanks for downloading, and I hope it’s useful! Please share this blog post rather than the direct link to the document itself.)

For more resources, check out my “community helpers” Pinterest board for more ideas and activities!

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The Family Notepad - a free quarterly newsletter filled with resources for family, homeschool, and faith!

What activities have your children loved to learn about community helpers? I always love gathering resources, so please share in the comments!


Disclosure: I was provided a free copy of the “Community Helpers: Fun-to-Know Puzzles” and “Listening Lotto: Community Helpers” from Stone’s Education in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and I only share what I believe to be helpful or useful.
I am an affiliate for Signing Time and Amazon Associates. If you click on a Signing Time link or Amazon and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

This post is also linked up with The Homeschool Village’s Ultimate Homeschool Link-UpHomeschool Creation’s Preschool and Kindergarten Corner, In Lieu of Preschool’s Tuesday Tots, UpsideDown Homeschooling’s Hearts for Home linkup, and the Weekly Kids Co-op.

The Weekly Kids Co-Op


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Sharing the Word through Service

Sharing the Word through Service - Ideas from Do Not Depart
I love words, and words carry power.
But action itself speaks, meets needs, and shares God’s love (and, yes, His Word in action) in affective ways.
With less than a week until Christmas, we might be tempted to say, “I didn’t serve as much or as well as I wanted this season. And now it’s too late.”
It’s not too late! Join me at Do Not Depart today for several ideas from around the web that you can implement this week to share God’s love and His word through serving others. Build these activities into family time, and worship through serving others with His heart.
Click here to read the post at Do Not Depart. I’d love to hear your family’s ideas over there!

Serving Others Through Exercise

Serving others through exercise…

through what?

That’s right. We can serve others – our family, our fellowship, our greater community – through exercise, too.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas, and experiences in the comments over at The Homeschool Village!

Meeting Needs in Community

How do you feel about community and fellowship? How important is fellowship with like-minded believers to you?

When you want to serve others, how do you know what to do and what needs exist?

We’ve been reading Kathy Howard’s Unshakeable Faith over at Do Not Depart for the past eight weeks, and this week, I’m sharing a quick vlog (under 4 minutes) about week 8 in Kathy’s study.

Join me at Do Not Depart today, and let me know how you focus on Christ to deepen unity in fellowship.