Volunteering Opportunities for Kids and Teens
Kids are never too young to start giving back to their community or to the world. For kids, volunteering is a great way to learn how good it is to help others. For teens, volunteering looks great not only on college applications but also on job applications.
But knowing where to start can be difficult. Also, kids and teens want to feel like the time they’re devoting is not only worth it to the organization or cause, but also enjoyable for them. Volunteering is much more rewarding when you not only feel a sense of satisfaction of helping, but also enjoy what you’re doing.
Volunteering doesn’t always have to be with an established organization. There are plenty of things kids and teens can do on their own to make their community a little better. Raising money, collecting items, or donating your time are just a few ways to help.
- Picking Up Trash at a Park or Beach – With a trash bag, gloves, a lot of elbow grease, picking up litter around a public park or beach is a great first step into volunteering. Parks and beaches are used by many people everyday and they can’t always be kept clean. Giving up a couple of hours to pick up keeps things clean and safe.
- Join a Neighborhood Association – In some larger cities, various communities have their own associations made up of residents and business owners who work to improve their local community. Active neighborhood associations require many volunteers to help with various projects throughout the year. Consider finding out if your neighborhood association needs help.
- Volunteer at an Animal Shelter – Donate a couple of hours at an animal shelter helping to socialize and train dogs. Even better, there may be opportunities to play with puppies and kittens.
- Do Yard-Work for a Needy Neighbor – An elderly neighbor often can’t take care of their own yard as much as they should or would like. Offer to mow their lawn or rake up leaves in the fall at no charge. They’ll appreciate it and you’ll be helping to keep your neighborhood looking sharp.
- Be a Tutor – Great a math, science, or English? Sign up to be a tutor at school or community center and help kids who might need some extra help outside the classroom.
- Visit a Nursing Home – Elderly people in nursing homes often don’t get to see family or get many visitors. Drop by a nursing or retirement home and talk with someone who looks lonely or play a few board games with them.
- Collect Items to Donate – Many people may have items in their homes they no longer need or use such as clothing, blankets, or household items. Consider offering to collect these items and take them to a shelter or organization looking for various types of donations. Food banks are always in need of donations of non-perishable food items such as canned food, dry goods, or money to purchase more food. Homeless shelters usually need gently used clothing, blankets, toiletries, and baby items such as diapers and baby formula.
- Raise Money for a Worthy Cause – There are many organizations around the country always looking for donations to help them continue helping people in various ways. Research a cause you’re passionate about such as cancer research, helping the homeless, helping animals, etc. and raise money to donate to them. Raising money could be a simple as:
- Having a Car Wash
- Having a bake sale
- Leaving donation jars at local businesses
- Have a Garage Sale
- Do Odd Jobs for Friends, Family, and Neighbors
- Sell Novelty Items such as t-shirts, wristbands, or stickers
- Join an Established Organization – Beyond neighborhood associations, there are many other non-profit organizations who only work to help others in need. These organizations often need help with tasks that don’t always include having to gather donations. Sometimes they need help creating fliers, making calls or answering phones, meeting with people needing help, or simply handing out information about their organization.
- Start Your Own Organization – While this is a more complex option, starting your own organization is a noble way to give back. Decide on a cause and whom your organization is helping. Then, decide what your organization intends to do whether you want to raise money, collect items, or offer some form of non-financial assistance. If raising money, make sure you speak to someone familiar with the process to make sure you’re not violating any laws governing charitable organizations.