Three Community Service Ideas for Teens and Parents to Do Together

By Angela Tague in Helping Hands

As your preteen thinks about his or her plans for high school, they may not consider volunteerism on their own. But it’s a good idea to bring up its value. Although many schools require community service for graduation, becoming a volunteer shows your child how selflessness and donating time benefits both the organization and your own character.

These community service ideas for teens can easily be approached as a family activity you work on together. Ultimately, spending time with each other while doing some good for your community will deepen your parent-child bond and give you a peek into how kids can mature socially.

Animal-Related Opportunity

Most teens can’t say no to an opportunity to help animals. Besides, it’s a great chance to make some furry, four-legged friends! Make a list of the organizations and businesses that work with animal outreach in your community. These might include animal rescue groups, shelters, adoption groups, training centers, or even veterinary services. Find out which use volunteers and how your preteen can help.

Then, decide which one works best for the two of you. You might walk dogs at the local shelter together on Saturday afternoons. The animals appreciate the extra attention and the organizations are constantly grateful for the helping hands that make their day-to-day easier. Kids will learn how to approach animals with care and respect while realizing their efforts can make a homeless pet incredibly happy.

Kids’ Programming Idea

Some volunteer opportunities are waiting to be discovered at your child’s school. Ask the guidance counselor about before- or after-school programs that need volunteers, tutors, mentors, or chaperones. Preteens are usually just getting into sports, so why not offer to run the concession stand at the next school football game together? You’ll get a chance to meet fellow parents, while they’ll make small talk with fellow classmates and unexpectedly fine-tune math skills while making change for those at the event.

As a bonus, you can bond over some well-deserved nachos.

Elder Care Activity

Finally, as you brainstorm community service ideas for teens with your son or daughter, consider working together to improve the lives of the senior citizens who live in your neighborhood. Contact your local nursing home’s activities director and see if you can lend a helping hand with upcoming projects or events. Each day these facilities offer crafts, music, exercise, or cooking programs to keep their residents active. As you help these residents write greeting cards or sing, you’ll learn how to relate to the elderly and empathize with their needs and concerns. Your child will quickly learn about gratitude and compassion, and probably discover a hidden talent at the same time.

Whichever opportunity you choose, preteen and eventually teen volunteering helps your child learn the importance of showing up on time, being consistent, and respecting the people she works with during her volunteer hours. Do you and your preteen volunteer together? Tell us on Twitter!

Image source: Flickr

This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.

Why It’s Good

Learning the value of donating time and talent is a learning experience for preteens they can use as they move forward into high school and college. Parents can help their children take the first step by joining them on this adventure and setting a good example for how to be a valuable and respected volunteer. Plus, you, your child, and the community all benefit!