You may feel like volunteering is a chore, especially if you have to earn community service hours to graduate. But believe it or not, more teens today volunteer than their parent’s generation–and it’s not due to getting in hours for school. Teens today are more civic minded that older generations and want to make a difference in the world. Volunteering or community service is a great way to give back to your community and make a difference in someone else’s life. It’s also a great way to earn experience that can help you get into college or earn your first job after high school. Volunteering also helps teens make the most of life. In fact, teens who volunteer are less likely to get into trouble or get pregnant. Plus, there’s the satisfaction you can feel by giving your time to help someone less fortunate than yourself. The benefits to volunteering are endless, here are just a few:
- Learn more about yourself and your personal interests
- Gain new perspective about life
- Boost your self-confidence and gain leadership skills
- Meet interesting people and make new friends
- Develop valuable skills and talents that could end lead to a career path
- Build your resume while enhancing your education
- Get great recommendations for future employment and college applications
- Make a difference and have an impact!!
Where Can I Volunteer?
When choosing a place to volunteer, first think about what it is that you like to do. If you like sports, you could volunteer to help at your local YMCA and work as a camp counselor. If you like to be out in nature, you could join the Sierra Club. And if you like to build, volunteer to build a home with Habitat for Humanities.
There are countless opportunities where you can volunteer your time, so the hardest part is finding the right match for your personality. You can start by going to Volunteer Match where you can find volunteer opportunities from over 65,000 non-profit organizations throughout the country.
For a shorter list, here are 20 great places where you can get involved and lend your helping hand:
1) America’s Promise
America’s Promise’s goal is to provide young people with the resources to lead happier, healthier and more productive lives. America’s Promise partners with several organizations such as Boys Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of America, YMCA of the USA, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Reading is Fundamental to name a few.
2) American Red Cross
The American Red Cross has a great youth section called the Junior Red Cross that organizes blood drives, provides training for disaster relief, and home safety for younger children.
3) Animal Shelters
If you love animals, then animal shelters are a great place where you can volunteer your time to help take care of animals and the facilities.
4) Fire Stations
If you’ve always wanted to be a fire-fighter, you can call your local fire department to see if they need help at the firehouse, cleaning the fire engines, the hoses, etc.
5) Food Banks
Food banks are always in need of food donations so there are plenty of opportunities to help collect food for food banks and also distribute it to people in homeless shelters. Your church, school or community center may also have a food bank that they collect for.
6) Habitat for Humanities
By volunteering to build homes for Habitat for Humanities, you can learn a lot about building houses and get the satisfaction of knowing that you helped build a home for a family that otherwise could not afford to buy one.
Volunteering at a hospital is a great way to explore medical careers and gain work experience. If you’re interested in working with children, you can also go to the above website to find a children’s hospital in your area.
8) Homeless Shelters
Most cities have a homeless shelter that could use help preparing and distributing meals and organizing food drives.
9) Local Libraries
If you like to read, libraries are a great place to volunteer. You can help re-shelve books, run children’s programs, and organize book drives.
10) Senior Citizen Centers
Many senior citizen centers have volunteer programs to help with senior community activities and visitation. If you enjoy being and working with seniors, log on to Meal Call to find a center in your area.
Last reviewed Nov 24., 2014.