Ahhh, Summer. To students, it means freedom and fun and lazy days with friends. With so much free time, this could also mean the perfect opportunity for your teen to try out volunteering at a local non-profit.
Often, teens need community service for a high school requirement. Others want to volunteer as part of their preparations for applying to colleges and universities. But that isn’t what summertime is all about. Summer is about the unknown, trying new things, and finding new paths. That’s why trying on a new role as a volunteer is the perfect way to help others and have some fun in the sun! Endless opportunities exist for teens to get their feet wet and find an authentic way to get involved. Some teens will love the fast pace of organizing a soccer match at a youth camp, while others will love the serenity of restoring a park trail.
One simple suggestion–I am a big fan of libraries, and summer reading programs. These programs often use kids as young as 13 as volunteers to sign up participants, and help run events. It gives your child a chance to start small. Typically, a teen volunteers for a one-two hour shift just once a week. These programs couldn’t run without the help of the teens who show up each summer.
Check out what is going on locally this summer in your area and you just might find you have a teen that wants to get involved. A quick and easy web search will help you find an organization in need. One great resource is VolunteerMatch.org. They’ve connected over 7.9 million volunteers with opportunities to help in their communities.
Community service isn’t just a buzz word for a college application. It’s about all the good we do, and the good we feel, when we help others in need.
Whether you like the great outdoors, or prefer the great American novel, there’s an Opp for That! An opportunity to volunteer, that is. Here are more organizations that are in need of teens to volunteer in their programs:
United Way Be a reading mentor to a child who needs a little extra support
National Parks Help maintain and preserve the great outdoors
Volunteer.gov America’s Natural and Cultural Resources Volunteer Portal
Major League Baseball Action Teams: Goups of high school students who plan volunteer events. They receive support from Major League baseball players & inspire others to volunteer.