Volunteering can be an incredible experience, especially when you’re helping to further a cause you believe in. But if you’ve ever been forced or guilted into a volunteer opportunity that’s outside your area of interest or places constraints on your time or commitments, you’re probably familiar with the stress and dread associated with the entire process.
While volunteering in the true sense of the word means doing something not expected of someone, many schools have made volunteering a prerequisite for graduation. Right or wrong, the requirement is well-meaning. Volunteering provides many benefits for teenagers, including the following:
- Exploring interests
- Helping others
- Gaining experience for resumes and applications
- Meeting new people
- Improving self-esteem and self-confidence
- Developing empathy for others
- The opportunity to make a difference
So what are some good volunteer opportunities for teens? That really depends on the teen’s interests, abilities, maturity level, experience, and level of commitment. With that in mind, here are some common volunteer opportunities suitable for most teens:
- Help care for animals at a local shelter
- Assist at a sports or recreation program
- Visit a nursing home
- Help with children’s classes at a local library
- Work with children at your place of worship.
- Lead tours at a museum
- Organize fundraiser for a local group or charity
- Help at a local community event
- Plant trees
- Design or hang posters for upcoming events.
- Assist with registration at events
Regardless of the volunteer activity, encourage your teen to choose something personally meaningful so that they’ll be interested in continuing the involvement in the future. The real goal of volunteering is, after all, to gain personal satisfaction from making a difference.