How to Find Volunteer Work for Teens

By Rosenya Faith
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Volunteer work can help your teen learn about responsibility, teach her how to work independently and as part of a team and provide her with new experiences and insight into a potential career. If she’s having difficulty finding volunteer work on her own, encourage her to flex her creativity in her own charitable endeavor or turn to an organization that helps to match volunteers with nonprofit organizations in need.

Passions and Pursuits

Use your teen’s interests and passions as a guide to the ideal volunteer opportunity. If he’s an animal-lover, look for volunteer work at a local animal shelter or veterinary clinic. If he enjoys working with senior citizens, contact a retirement or long term care facility.

A teen who loves youngsters can volunteer with a non-profit day camp program, babysit for a family in need or tutor elementary school children. Your environmentally friendly teen or outdoor enthusiast can volunteer with a park or natural resource department to take part in clean-up endeavors and research and conservation programs.

Job Aspirations

Help your teen find a volunteer opportunity in her area of career interest where she can learn about the job and enhance her college and job applications. If she’s interested in veterinary medicine, look to a zoo or aquarium for volunteer work. A teen interested in applying to medical school can seek out volunteer programs at a local hospital, while an aspiring architect can volunteer with a charitable building foundation. A school counselor can also help your teen determine a suitable volunteer match for her career goals.

Volunteer Adventures

Provide your teen with an exceptional volunteer opportunity in countries around the world with a teen travel program. He can volunteer at a monkey and wildlife rehabilitation center in South Africa, care for children at an orphan day care in St. Lucia, take part in community development in Livingstone, Zambia, or learn about marine conservation in the Caribbean.

The programs range in length from a weekend trek to a month-long adventure, and are available for both middle and high school-age teens. You can help your teen choose the trip that coordinates best with your summer schedule, budget and his capacity for lengthy stays away from home.

DIY Volunteer Work

If your teen can’t find an ideal charitable venture, help her to create her own. She can organize a baseball game for charity, recruit players from the community and ask friends and family members to donate money for tickets to the game. Donate the proceeds to her favorite charity or volunteer organization.

Your teen can train for a 10K walk or run for a cause, plan a charity car wash with her friends or start a recycled sports equipment charity to help less fortunate kids take part in extracurricular programs.

Encourage your young fashionista to rummage through her closet for clothing and items to donate, or help your teen organize a neighborhood-wide yard sale or bake sale, and donate the proceeds to a local charity.

About the Author

Rosenya Faith has been working with children since the age of 16 as a swimming instructor and dance instructor. For more than 14 years she has worked as a recreation and skill development leader, an early childhood educator and a teaching assistant, working in elementary schools and with special needs children between 4 and 11 years of age.