Inside: Fun + Rewarding Teen Volunteer Programs To Help Those College Admissions.
Volunteer work can teach your teen a lot of valuable life lessons. Whether you want your child to learn the importance of giving back to the community or you’re hoping they’ll gain some valuable skills that will help them in a future job, there are lots of reasons to pursue local volunteer opportunities.
Volunteering also benefits your teen by building their self-confidence and imparting empathy. Additionally, many college applications ask teens to list their service projects. If you’re not sure where to find volunteer work for your teen, consider these options which usually offer something in every local community.
Check out our favorite teen volunteer programs and ideas.
Teen Volunteer Programs
These Summer Volunteer Programs for Teens are great programs for teen to get involved in.
American Red Cross: You may recognize the American Red Cross as the folks who provide disaster relief and organize blood donations, among other things. It’s important work, and, yes, you can get involved! Take a look at their youth volunteer opportunities, and if you’re feeling inspired, you can even start your own Red Cross Club at your school.
Habitat for Humanity: Everyone deserves to have a place they call home. By volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, you can play a role in building up your community (literally). Their Habitat Youth Programs accept volunteers between the ages of 5 and 40 for everything from home construction to affordable housing advocacy.
The Humane Society: Whether you’re a dog person or a cat person (or a…hamster person?), you can join the Humane Society in their fight against animal cruelty. Find volunteer opportunities in your state, and get involved in outreach, phone banking, or helping out at a local shelter.
Key Club: As the oldest service program for high schoolers, the Key Club has quite a history of helping teens get involved in volunteering. Because clubs are student-led, you get a direct say in the kinds of service projects you want to do. Chances are, there’s already a chapter in your school, but if not, you can try taking the lead on one.
Places to Volunteer for Teens
Meals on Wheels: For those teens who just got their license and love any reason to get behind the wheel, here’s a volunteer opportunity that’ll make driving worthwhile. Meals on Wheels is on a mission to meet the nutritional and social needs of seniors. 225 million meals have been delivered so far — connect with your local provider to find out how you can get involved.
Best Buddies: Volunteer with Best Buddies to help end the social, physical, and economic isolation of 200 million people with intellectual and developmental disabilities — and you’ll make some new pals in the process! Join a school chapter (or start your own) to use friendship as a tool for inclusivity in your community.
Sierra Club: Over 3.5 million Sierra Club members are fighting for the Earth, and you can become one of them! They even have a youth-specific Sierra Student Coalition that empowers teens and young adults volunteering for climate justice. Clean up outdoor spaces, lead nature outings, or lend your voice to environmental campaigns.
DoSomething.org: Did you know DoSomething is the largest global org exclusively for young people and social change? Through our volunteer, community service, and social action campaigns, our millions of members tackle campaigns that impact every cause, from poverty to violence to education to the environment. Explore our campaigns for actionable volunteer opportunities made with young people in mind.
Volunteer Ideas for Home
Volunteering doesn’t have to just be going to food pantries or Habitat for Humanity. Here are some fun and creative ways teens can volunteer their time at home. These ideas are also great volunteer opportunities for 13 year olds, since they don’t have the means to easy transportation. It’s a great way to build their responsibility and gain some confidence in their volunteering.
- Help younger siblings clean their rooms, brush their teeth or finish their homework
- Play with younger siblings when they are bored
- Volunteer to make a parent or a sibling lunch for work or school
- Help a parent finish a chore, such as snow shoveling or raking leaves
- Make cookies or brownies for a sick relative
- Turn the backyard into a sanctuary for birds, butterflies, and other wildlife
- Feed, groom, and care for the family pet
- Write a letter to an elderly relative or get a group of kids together to make cards to deliver to a local nursing home
- Be responsible for cleaning up a bedroom, playroom or a family common area
- Do things without being asked, such as hanging up your jacket or changing the cat’s litter box
Volunteer Opportunities and School
There are songs of great volunteering for teens in their own school. Before your child tackles a project for his or her school, be sure to have your tween ask teachers or the school principal for permission, advice, and suggestions.
- Help teachers set up their classrooms at the beginning of the year
- Help teachers pack up their classrooms at the end of the year
- Be a patrol guard at a bus stop or on the school bus
- Help the school librarian shelve books or assist students when checking books in and out
- Make safety posters to display around the school
- Organize a school supply drive for students who cannot afford to buy their own
- Tutor younger children when they need it
- Bring assignments to friends or classmates who have missed school due to illness or a family emergency
Volunteering at Church
Volunteering at church is a great way to start for any teen. The church always has great volunteer opportunities for teens.
- Watch younger children during the church service
- Assist adult volunteers at a vacation bible school
- Create and decorate a bulletin board display
- Send welcome cards to new church members
- Organize a supply drive for the Sunday school teachers
- Bake cookies for the church staff
- Help maintain the church gardens
Volunteering in the Community
These volunteer jobs for teens are a great way to give their time to their community.
- Organize a food and toy drive for the local animal shelter
- Help stock the local food pantry
- Volunteer to help a younger neighbor with homework
- Make Valentine cards for the residents of a retirement home
- Participate in a local clean-up day
- Make brownies for new neighbors
- Join a local service organization
- Ask for donations to a local homeless shelter rather than gifts at your next birthday party
- Donate proceeds from a lemonade stand to a charity of your choice
- Purchase gifts for a needy family during the holiday season
More Great Ideas for Teens
If you like these positive teen volunteer programs then check out a few more of our favorite ideas for teens.
- Fun Things to do in Los Angeles – Whether your teen is a bookworm, an outdoor adventurer, or a shopaholic, there’s something for everyone in this southern California city. From visiting one of the many themes and amusement parks in the Los Angeles area to going horseback riding in the mountains just outside the city, you’re sure to find something to add to your itinerary.
- Journal Prompts for Teens – Journaling is a positive habit that anyone can benefit from. Journals are like best friends who hold onto your secrets and help you process your experiences. Journaling regularly can lead to a lifelong daily writing habit, but teens may struggle with figuring out how to start.
- Fun First Day Ideas for Teens – Some first dates are as simple and easy as going out to dinner and getting dessert, while others involve staying at home to cook together, playing games, watching the sunset, and having a movie night. Teenage couples may want to do something special and unique, especially for an anniversary. These first-date ideas are perfect for teen couples.