Whether your high schooler is curious about mentoring kids, passionate about doing environmental good, or just wants to spend time helping others, they want to make a serious impact. Summer volunteering programs for teens can give them the chance to make a difference.
But what happens when your teen has already spent years petting puppies at the local animal shelter, packing canned goods at the food bank, or cleaning up a park? Check out these interesting and impactful ideas your teens may not have thought of before.
Babysit for a Good Cause
Your teen may already be making a few dollars a week by sitting for the neighbor's little ones. But they can also donate their kid-corralling abilities to someone in need. If you know a family who could use extra help, your teen's free-of-charge babysitting services could save a parent their job.
Babysitting services can get pricey—especially when you need a sitter to take care of the kiddos for a full workday. Child care is one of the top expenses for families with children in the U.S., according to Child Care Aware of America, and some parents just can't reconcile the cost of a sitter with the money they'll lose from their workday.
The National Coalition for the Homeless recommends contacting your local shelter to see if any of the families or people staying there are in need of child care. Other community service providers like libraries and language classes might also want a helping hand.
Meet Foster Children
Being a foster home volunteer is one way that your teen can help children who need love, understanding, and friendship. Depending on where you live, various charities and foster organizations offer different ways for volunteers to help.
Teens who enjoy organizing events (or think that they might want to try) can volunteer their time setting up a fundraiser to benefit a foster home. Your teen can get creative and set up their own toy, backpack, or bike donation program. These are all items that your teen may take for granted, but that kids in foster care may not have access to.
Chores for Those in Need
The simple act of vacuuming, dusting, or wiping down dishes isn't easy for everyone. Elderly or disabled individuals who live alone may find these daily chores a challenge. Your teen can volunteer to help out a senior citizen or someone who has a physical disability with their household cleaning tasks. Groups like Meals on Wheels or a local senior center may be able to help you find someone who would benefit from the extra help.
This type of volunteer opportunity helps your teen to practice compassion, learn about differences, and take someone else's day from just okay to busy and bright. Along with cleaning and completing other chores, your teen is also sharing their time with someone who may feel lonely or isolated. A conversation while cleaning or just asking, "What can I do for you?" may seem minor to your kid, but can be extremely meaningful to the person they're helping.
Plant a Community Garden
Picking up trash is an easy entry into the world of eco-responsibility. If your teen has been there and done that, help them to take the idea a step further. Planting a community garden is a multi-level volunteer opportunity that will get your teen thinking about sustainability, the environment, and helping those in need.
So how does a community garden volunteer project cross different types of charitable levels? To start with, your teen is taking what may be bare land or a trash-covered lot and beautifying it. They're adding to the local green space, while creating something that can feed local residents who don't have access to inexpensive fresh fruits and veggies. This brings your teen to the next step in this volunteer opportunity—donating what they grow to an organization that feeds the hungry.
Share Tech Knowledge
Your teen is a computer genius! Okay, not really. But they're pretty much an expert when it comes to using social media, email, and apps. Instead of thumbing away on their smartphone by themselves, your teen can share their extensive techie knowledge with an elderly individual who needs computer literacy help.
Computer-based communication is an easy way for elderly or isolated people to keep in touch with family or friends. If your eighty-year-old neighbor doesn't know how to video chat, set them up with their own account. If they'd like to see what's going on in their loved ones' daily lives, a tech-savvy teen can create a family reunion Facebook page to keep the whole family connected online.
When it comes to summer volunteering programs for teens, your kid can benefit from thinking outside the box. From a foster home volunteer opportunity to helping an elderly person in need, the impact that your teen can have is immeasurable!
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Why It’s Good
Summer volunteering programs for teens, such as being a foster home volunteer or planting a community garden, teach your child about themselves and the world around them—all while giving back.