In addition to their schoolwork, sports, extracurricular activities, and other demands, tweens and teens often need to donate community service hours for clubs, honor societies, religious organizations, and other reasons. This is a great time to help your growing child or grandchild find opportunities that will suit their strengths and begin to foster a lifelong love of volunteering.
The good news is that there are plenty of opportunities for young people to give back. First, your student or club member should contact the organization which requires the community service hours and find out if there are any restrictions. Then, they can work on lining up opportunities. Here are four areas that may be a great fit for your favorite middle or high school student.
Work with animals
From working with pets looking for “furr-ever” homes at animal shelters and rescues to participating in citizen science projects, there are plenty of ways for tween and teen animal lovers to give back. Contact your local animal shelter to find out if they have age requirements and where they may need help. And websites like Zooniverse have rotating projects involving animals. Recent opportunities ask you to count squirrels in your backyard and help find threatened frogs. Find more ideas here.
Help others learn
Does your child or grandchild excel in science or breeze through math problems? Volunteering to tutor students might be a great opportunity to give back and share their smarts. They can even help tutor kids online for volunteer hours through Connect Me, a nationwide free online tutoring and mentoring nonprofit that helps underprivileged children in grades Kindergarten through 8. Register through the mobile app or online at the organization’s website. Your student can also use their talents and skills to help others. For example, the Heartwise Project is looking for talented teen chefs and bakers to submit videos of themselves cooking or baking their favorite foods. The videos will be shared with senior centers and hospices to brighten up seniors’ days. Or they can make a difference with their artistic side by doing crafts.
Find a friend
Social isolation has been a big issue for many even before the pandemic. Seniors are especially vulnerable to the challenges of being alone, including feeling lonely or depressed. Teens and tweens can help people find social connection in a number of ways. Virtual opportunities to connect exist, too. For example, Conversations to Remember is seeking outgoing high school student volunteers for virtual visits with residents in senior living communities who are lonely or just looking to expand their social circles.
Be a sport
If your favorite tween or teen love sports, they can turn that love into community service, too. From volunteering to help coach young children in recreation leagues to spending some time sprucing up the athletic fields at a local park, they can give back and help their favorite sport, too. Here are some ideas for finding community service opportunities for your favorite sports nut.