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As a high school student, you should always be looking for ways to get involved in your local community and the world around you.
After all, performing acts of service can benefit you in a lot of ways. Sure, engaging in volunteer opportunities is a great way for you to give back to your community and positively impact the lives of others — but it’s also a great way to meet new people, learn new skills, and see just how interconnected we really are. And when done genuinely, completing service opportunities may help strengthen your college application.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the importance of volunteering and identify some virtual and in-person volunteer opportunities you can participate in today.
Why Is Volunteering Important?
Yes, giving back to your community is important for serving the less fortunate, assisting disadvantaged groups, and just making the world a better place. But there are also some more personal reasons volunteering is important.
It Gives You the Chance to Develop New Skills
Engaging in service activities just might help you develop valuable skills that are transferable to the college setting and beyond. For example, by preparing and delivering Meals on Wheels meals every month, you might develop leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills — and you might even gain a new understanding of generational perspectives. Or if you’re fundraising for a local charity, you may develop even more specific skills, like database management.
If these skills fit in with your potential major, your service experience just might show a better fit to the major you’re applying for — and that could potentially give your application an edge.
Your Experiences Might Point You Toward a Career or Major
Service work can also give you a sense of purpose and direction. It can help you identify your passions and interests (maybe you find out you’re great at grant writing or graphic design) and assist you with choosing a college major or career path.
It Can Strengthen Your College Application
Finally, service work can also potentially help you stand out among applicants. Volunteering demonstrates your commitment to making a positive impact in your community, and admissions officers are certainly looking for well-rounded applicants who have a passion for giving back and making a difference.
But sometimes, it can be hard for busy teens to find flexible opportunities to give back.
What Kinds of Volunteer Opportunities for Teens Are Available?
Whether you’re looking for virtual volunteering activities or something in-person and hands-on, there are many service opportunities to choose from. Here are 12 great volunteering opportunities for teens that you can get started with right away.
- Organize a neighborhood food drive for your local Food Bank. Food banks rely on donations to provide food to those in need. Organizing a food drive in your neighborhood is a great way to help your local community and raise awareness about food insecurity.
- Write cards to nursing home residents who can’t have (or who don’t have many) visitors. Nursing home residents are often isolated and lonely, especially during times when visitors are restricted. Writing cards to them can bring some joy to their day and remind them that they are not alone.
- Perform outdoor yard work for local residents in need. Many older or disabled residents may be unable to maintain their yards on their own. Helping them with yard work can greatly improve their quality of life.
- Make bookmarks for your library. Public libraries often rely on donations and volunteer work to keep their programs running. Making bookmarks for your local library is a small but meaningful way to give back.
Tip: Pick up a mandala coloring book, color it in, then cut it into 1.5”-wide strips. For extra fun, punch a hole in the top and attach a tassel you can make from yarn scraps. Or find a cute design on Canva, print it on some card stock, and color away!
- Collect hotel-sized toiletries to donate to a local shelter. Many shelters need toiletries to provide to their residents. Collecting hotel-sized shampoo, conditioner, and lotion is a simple way to help.
- Collect pet food for the Meals on Wheels AniMeals program. This is a great way to help those in need and make a difference in the lives of animals. Many senior citizens rely on Meals on Wheels to provide food for their pets as well as themselves. Collecting pet food is a great way to support this program.
- Decorate paper lunch bags with inspirational messages and quotes for the local senior center or Meals on Wheels. Decorating paper lunch bags with inspirational messages and quotes can bring a little bit of joy to the day of senior citizens receiving Meals on Wheels. This small act of kindness can bring a smile to someone's face and make their day a little brighter.
- Paint rocks with inspirational messages and leave them around your neighborhood or donate to a local organization. This is a fun and creative way to spread positivity and make a difference in your community.
- Start a lending library. Setting up a lending library in your neighborhood is a great way to promote literacy and create a sense of community.
- Write letters or send care packages to overseas soldiers. Many soldiers appreciate receiving letters and care packages from home. It helps them feel connected and supported.
- Decorate the covers of blank composition notebooks or one-subject notebooks for organizations like Children's Safe Harbor. Children in shelters or foster care often have to leave their possessions behind. Decorating notebooks for them can provide a sense of normalcy and ownership.
- Write encouraging notes to St. Jude patients. Sending encouraging notes to children undergoing treatment for cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
These are just a few of the many volunteer opportunities available to high school students.
Or consider creating your own volunteer opportunity!
It doesn’t matter what you do — it’s just important to get involved. When you participate in community service activities, you can learn valuable skills, gain a sense of responsibility, and meaningfully impact others’ lives.
It's a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Don’t find anything on the list that speaks to you? Download my free PDF of 65+ volunteer and community service activities you can start doing today.