You already know that volunteering is a great way to jazz up your college apps and Tallo profile, but what you might not know is that volunteering has a ton of other amazing benefits. Case in point: Harvard Medical School says that people who volunteer have lower blood pressure and a longer lifespan. On top of that, getting out and helping others can boost your self-esteem and help you meet new friends. Heck yeah!
Ready to get going? Check out some of these great volunteer opportunities to get the ball rolling.
- Caring for Pets at the Animal Shelter — Ugh, who doesn’t want to pet dogs and cats all day? Seriously, animal shelters always need volunteers to feed, walk, and love on surrendered pets, and if you’re an animal lover, you already qualify! Petfinder has a great database of animal shelters around the country.
- Cleaning Up and Maintaining the Parks — Prefer to be outside? Metro parks, city parks, and national parks all rely on volunteers to help clean up and maintain public lands, so this is a great volunteer idea for outdoorsy teens. Bonus: extra vitamin D!
- Building Houses with Habitat for Humanity — Habitat for Humanity helps families build and improve affordable housing, providing youngsters with essential community service experience while also exposing them to new skills such as building, painting, and fundraising. Check out their youth programs webpage for more information.
- Being a Reading Mentor at the Library — Your local library probably has teen volunteer opportunities and internships for those who want to work in the literary arts. From staffing reading carnivals to mentoring kids, spending time at the library is always fun.
- Taking Your Pet to the Hospital or Nursing Home — Got a sweet, gentle animal? You might want to consider getting them certified as a therapy animal so you can take them to hospitals, nursing homes, and shelters to provide joy and comfort. While therapy dogs are definitely the most popular, therapy cats, rabbits, and llamas are a thing, too.
- Providing Support to the Special Olympics — Programs like the Special Olympics couldn’t exist without volunteers who coach and staff events. Luckily, there are Special Olympics programs all over the country, so you’ll be able to find one nearby.
- Joining or Starting a Key Club Chapter — Key Club International is a student-led service program specifically for high school students. Activities often involve raising funds for UNICEF, March of Dimes, and other kid-focused charities.
- Volunteering with the Sierra Club — Sierra Club is all about helping people be champions of the environment by fighting for climate justice and protecting natural lands. They even offer a program called the Sierra Student Coalition that teaches teens and college kids key organizing and leadership skills.
- Working at a Summer Camp — There are a number of summer camps for children with special needs and kids who come from underserved communities. And who doesn’t want to spend a few weeks of the summer at camp? Check out local camps for volunteer opportunities that strike your fancy.
- Becoming a Youth Mentor or Tutor — Older teens make great tutors and role models for younger students who need a little extra support at school and in life.
- Helping Veterans and Service Members — The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) runs a student volunteer program that puts teens face-to-face with vets and service members. In addition to getting to know and aiding heroes one-on-one, the program can also lead to multiple college scholarship opportunities.
- Coaching, Umping, and Staffing Community Sports Events — Community sports programs should be available to kids of all backgrounds, which means they’re often run by dedicated volunteers to keep fees low. Consider becoming a coach, mentor, referee, umpire, or concession stand staffer at local sporting events.
How to Find Volunteer Opportunities for Teens
Ready to get started? First things first: Update your Tallo profile. This is a digital portfolio for students that’s specifically designed for connecting you with volunteer opportunities, internships, colleges, and jobs. So it’s a great place to start if you’re looking to discover super-rewarding activities that allow you to serve others and your community.