As our children are moving into the high school years we are encouraging them to seek opportunities to get involved in the community through volunteering.
Volunteering provides many benefits for teens. By participating in community service activities teens can meet new people, learn the value of serving others, build life skills, explore potential career options, and more.
If your teen is college bound there may be another good reason for volunteering — colleges often look for work and volunteer experience on the college application.
You might even want to consider helping your family (including your teen) find volunteering activities you can all participate in together. Working on projects together as a family is a special way to build ties to your community and unforgettable family memories.
Together with our friends we would like to share 20 of our favorite volunteer ideas for teens and families:
How to Find Volunteer Opportunities for Teens & Families
There are many places for teens and families to volunteer. Non—profit organizations, churches, and community groups are often looking for people to help with activities and events.
Teens can find volunteer opportunities by visiting sites like VolunteerMatch.org or HandsOn Network. While looking at these sites teens can search for activities that match their interests and/or help them build skills.
Here are a few examples from our family:
- Because we are big animal lovers our family has been working with a local dog rescue group as a foster family.
- My oldest son wanted to learn more about law enforcement so he volunteers with the Explorers program.
- My younger son wanted to strengthen his public speaking skills so he volunteers with our county’s Teen Court program.
Here are a few more ideas from our friends:
Help your teen discover opportunities to use his passions to serve others. – Kris
As a family, we have made volunteering and service learning a major component of our homeschool. Over the years, we have had opportunities to volunteer in a variety of ways. I’d like to share some of those experiences with you in hopes of inspiring you to seek out volunteer opportunities for kids in your local community. – Eva
The Importance of Giving & Serving Others
It is important to help kids and teens understand the needs and concerns of others. We believe hands-on, in-person service activities in the community are the best way to build understanding.
We are thankful to our many friends who are sharing their experiences on this topic (click on the link within each quote to learn more):
Because of our homeschool service projects my children have more compassion for others, notice needs, willingly give up time and resources, joyfully take part in each and every opportunity, and specifically look for ways to help others.- Cindy
The Martin Luther King Day of Service is a moment to work together to fulfill King’s vision for a better America. Eva
Teaching children to serve is such an important thing. If children learn while they are young the value of giving of themselves, not for praise but just because, their lives will be so much better. – Karyn
Helping Kids Help Others – Raising our children to be givers not takers is important. Raising our children to think of others and care for others in need is important too. By Jen
I’m teaching my kids to volunteer because I think volunteering is one of the principles our country was founded on. By Ticia
Do you want your kids to learn kindness and service like I do? I want my kids to naturally desire to show love and kindness to others around them. Here are some fun Acts of Kindness Kids Can do. – Karyn
Every activity on our family’s schedule is carefully considered. Recently, we made a commitment to a new activity that has really blessed our family – serving others. Crystal
Building Life Skills & Character
Volunteering can also help teens build important life skills and positive character traits. For example, by helping to foster homeless dogs my children are learning patience, compassion, and (more practically) how to help dogs learn basic obedience skills so they can find their forever homes. Through his experience with the Explorers program my son is also learning leadership skills that will service him well regardless of what career path he chooses in the future.
Here are some more thoughts on the importance of building these skills from other families:
Character building doesn’t have to be another subject that you tack onto the end of your day. In fact, I would argue that helping your children to develop positive character traits is actually more effective if you use hands-on, real world methods. One way you can do this is by volunteering with your children. – Michelle
Service and Leadership – In our home, learning to serve plays a major role in values training. Of course, we train our children to serve one another in our home, but we’re also intentional in finding service opportunities outside the home. – Cindy
It’s Our Turn to Lead – Here are a few activities and ideas to teach your students about preserving our earth, while learning about our beautiful planet. – Eva
Additional Volunteering Resources and Ideas
- Books for Kids Who Want to Save the World – Cait
- Homeschool High School Volunteer Log – Ami
- We find educational and relational benefits to incorporating volunteer service into our days. – Pat
- There’s no better time than the holidays for shifting the focus toward others, as there are so many volunteer opportunities available. – Candy
- Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots is the youth-led community action and learning program of the Jane Goodall Institute. The program builds on the legacy and vision of Dr. Jane Goodall to place the power and responsibility for creating community-based solutions to big challenges in the hands of the young people. – Eva
What are your teen’s favorite volunteer activities?