Volunteer work for teenagers doesn’t have to be a miserable time, in fact it’s good to find volunteer options that a teenager can get excited about, instead of something they’re going to dread. Let’s talk about some community projects for teens, places for teenagers to volunteer, and the different types of volunteer options that exist.
The Best Volunteer Opportunities for Teens
Meals on Wheels: This is a group that delivers meals to senior citizens. If you’re a teenager with a car, this is a perfect excuse to cruise around, listen to music, and make a difference in some people’s lives by bringing them the meals they rely on. You may experience a bit of small-talk, but you can always let them know you’ve got to get to your next drop-off right away, but if you enjoy talking to some interesting people and giving them a bit of human-contact in their day (in some cases, you’ll be the only person they see that day, maybe even that week!), then you’ll soon realize that there’s a lot more to volunteering at Meals on Wheels than simply delivering food. When teens volunteer with Meals on Wheels, it can be a lot of fun for the people getting the meals!
The Humaine Society: This is one of the most popular places to volunteer, since people imagine that they’ll just be rolling around in big piles of puppies all day. While the work you do will depend on the location you’re at, and what type of help they need, and how long you’ll be staying there. It’s possible that you’re just cleaning up or doing paperwork, but you’ll still be around animals either way, and once you demonstrate that you’re not just there for one or two shifts, you’ll probably start to get some better opportunities, too.
Best Buddies: This group has local chapters, so check if there’s one near you. It’s an organization that works with people who are developmentally or intellectually disabled, where you’ll essentially just be there for them as a friend. You’ll meet some really cool and interesting people, who have lives that are very different than you may be used to. Perhaps you already have experience with people that are dealing with these struggles, in which case you’d be a great candidate. At the end of the day, you’ll probably realize that you’re getting just as much out of this companionship and friendship as your Best Buddy is, and it won’t even feel like volunteer work at that point – you’re just hanging out with a friend!
Sierra Club: This is a group for people who want to work to protect the environment. You’ll get to spend some time outside, maybe cleaning up your neighborhood and local parks. You’ll meet people who are also deeply concerned about the environment. It can feel like thankless work, since there are so many huge issues facing our environment, and it kind of stings to spend a day picking up litter, only to see someone walking in front of you dropping trash on the ground, but those types of situations just prove how important this is.
Volunteering at Hospitals: Hospitals can often use additional volunteers, whether you’re someone who can entertain kids, play cards with seniors, or help with other various tasks that need to get done. Hospitals do, in deed, have staff members but it’s often just not possible to have that extra human touch at all times. There’s a lot more to a hospital than what you see on TV or the movies, or even what you see wen you go in for a broken leg or an emergency. There are calmer, quieter areas where people are lonely and could use some company.
Are There Teen Volunteer Opportunities That Aren’t As Good?
But what about the less-excited, less-glamorous volunteering options? If everyone is supposed to enjoy their volunteer work, who will do the less-desirable volunteering work? Well, here’s the thing: Everyone is different, for starters. Teenager volunteer options that are one person’s trash, could be another person’s treasure. Beyond that, some people take pride in doing the types of jobs that other people don’t want to do, so even if some volunteer placements are less desirable on the surface, there are some people who will still be motivated to do them, because they know it’s important.
If it’s all the same to you, it can be extra helpful to volunteer at some of the places that don’t always draw as much volunteer-interest. For example, there are even waiting lists, sometimes, of people who want to volunteer to work with animals at a shelter, but sometimes hopping on a phone and doing some fundraising can make a big difference for an organization.
Teenagers volunteer for a number of different reasons, whether it’s for high school electives or credits, to make some new friends, or just to help out.
Summer Volunteer Opportunities for Teens, or Year Round?
During the summer is when most teenagers have the most free time, so summer volunteer opportunities for teens are a great way to make your summer memorable and ensure that you’re not just locked to the couch all week long. Volunteering for one day each week still allows you get fit in a good 8 shifts during the summer break, and it can be a very rewarding experience. It’s also something that you can put on your resume when you’re looking for high school student jobs.
So as you can see, whether you like to drive around, or talk to people, or you love animals or the environment, there are plenty of organizations that can use a helping hand. Don’t forget to check for local chapters of any of these groups that interest you, or consider starting your own if there isn’t one already! Also, there are probably plenty more local charities and organizations that you can volunteer with that do similar work to the teenage volunteer organizations mentioned above.
Benefits of Volunteering for Teenagers
Volunteering for teenagers is a very rewarding experience. Finding a place that you’ll enjoy volunteering is one of the best ways to ensure it’s not only rewarding, but fun. You won’t enjoy every single task you’re given, you won’t only have great days, but there are lots of great volunteer programs for teens that will empower you to make the world a better place, while also making yourself a better person.
If you can think of any other teen volunteer opportunities, let us know! We’re happy to update this list, and if you have any first and experience with any of these groups or other volunteer organizations for teenagers, we’d love to share your story!