It is becoming increasingly important for teenagers to look for volunteer hours throughout their high school years. Colleges are beginning to look very favorably on volunteer work in addition to test scores and GPA.
Oftentimes, this means parents are searching for ideas on how their teen can find these opportunities. If you are at a loss as to what your teen can do to log those volunteer hours, here are ideas. There are many more opportunities depending upon where you live, but these are a great place to start your search.
I highly recommend having your teen discuss their ideas with you. Then, let them start making phone calls. Let them be in charge of their volunteer work – after clearing schedules with you, of course.
How to Get Volunteer Hours
Food Banks – Most big towns and cities have a local food bank. Call your local town office to find out if yours has one, and see if your teen can commit to volunteering one day a week at the food bank location.
Habitat for Humanity – Check out the Habitat for Humanity website to see if they are in need of volunteers in your area. Have your teen work with this program that builds homes for the less fortunate.
If your area doesn’t have a Habitat for Humanity, it may have something similar. My middle kiddo volunteered throughout his sophomore year with an organization that helped paint and clean old homes that were in need of repair.
Nursing Home – Most nursing homes have a way for teens to volunteer their time by reading to an elder, sitting to have a conversation, or just being their companion for a period of time. Have your teen call the local elderly home to see what options are there.
Local Library – Town and city libraries often need volunteers to help re-shelf books, check in books, and other miscellaneous tasks. Call your local town or city library to see what volunteer options are there for your teen.
Emma started volunteering at our local library last summer when she was 12. She helped sign kids up for the summer reading program, and then spent the rest of her days checking reading logs and handing out prizes. She also volunteers on the weekends when they have kids’ crafts set up.
Animal Shelters – This is the perfect volunteer idea for a teen who loves animals. Most shelters thrive on volunteers to help keep the facility clean and the animals fed and happy. If you have an animal shelter nearby, call to see what they allow for teen volunteer hours.
Ours lets teens start volunteering when they’re 13. So, Emma and I have gone through orientation and will begin volunteering this week. At our shelter, a parent is required to volunteer with the teen until they are 16. Check to see what the rules are at your local shelter.
Meals on Wheels – If this service is offered in your area, and your teen has their license, they may be able to volunteer for the Meals on Wheels program. This is a program that brings meals to local homes of senior citizens to provide healthy food options. If your teen doesn’t have their license yet, this is a great family service project.
Rec Center Sports – The YMCA is a great place to find volunteer work. Teens can volunteer to help coach sports in your local area. If your teen has a love of sports, this may be a great fit for them.
This was my oldest son’s favorite way to volunteer. He actually coached Upward sports through a local church. So, that’s another place your teen can look.
This list is meant to provide ideas on how teens can get their volunteer hours for graduation. I hope it helped give you and your teen some ideas about where they can find volunteer opportunities in your area.