6 Summer Volunteer Opportunities for Teens And Tweens
Then, they start to ask questions: Can I help stray puppies? Is there a way to help the homeless? Can I even help people with cancer?
As a teacher who specializes in teaching youth about volunteerism and their potential to make an impact, I've seen their eyes light up with purpose when the answer is, "Absolutely. Yes."
Summer Vacation is the ideal time to get middle and high school students involved in youth volunteerism. Volunteering is proven to help teens form positive friendships, build self-esteem, and develop creative problem-solving skills. Plus, whether painting an elementary school or growing a community garden, volunteer projects are fun and look great to college admissions.
Short on ideas? Here are six Triangle-area projects for some volunteer fun in the sun this summer.
1. Help Homeless Animals At The SPCA Of Wake County
Projects involving kittens and puppies are always popular! The SPCA of Wake County needs dog walkers, kennel cleaners, and puppy-petters. Too hot to go out? Spend a cool day inside creating toys for the animals by braiding and knotting fabric. Likewise, you can stock up on pet food and supplies, fill up your car, and bring a little joy to the animals!
2. Create Paintings For Art For Hospice
Founded by a Durham middle school student with a passion for art and healing, Art for Hospice accepts donations of students' paintings and uses them to brighten bedrooms of hospice patients. Host a painting party and let your creativity and compassion flow!
3. Read To Preschoolers With Durham's Partnership For Children
Nothing fosters leadership potential like mentoring kids. Durham's Partnership for Children's opportunity allows teens and tweens to read to preschoolers, helping them develop a love of literacy and learning.
4. Sort Donations With Note In The Pocket
Note in the Pocket began when a compassionate teacher sent home coats for her low-income kindergarten students. Within a few years, she found kids all over Wake County who needed similar services. Volunteers are always needed to help sort and fold donations.
5. Inter-Faith Food Shuttle: Harvesting Crops For Carolina's Hungry
Spending a summer day on the farm with his or her hands in the dirt can help a teen connect with how our food gets to our plates. This fun and unique team-building project provides a healthy harvest for Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, who uses it to feed those in need.
6. Check Activate Good For Teen And Tween Projects
Crave variety? Activate Good hosts many family and youth-friendly volunteer activities all across the Triangle. These projects connect families with a large selection of local nonprofits, ranging from environmental clean-ups, to trail-building for parks, to serving meals at a shelter.
Make Summer Break Worthwhile!
Volunteer projects provide unique experiences, team-building opportunities, and a chance to make an impact in the community. Tweens and teens want to know they have the power to tackle social problems. Teach them how to change the world now, and they'll be empowered for life.
Photo above of Teens and Tweens at Activate Good's Family Volunteer Day 2014 courtesy of Activate Good.
Heather Leah has taught preschool and worked with nonprofits for more than 10 years. She's passionate about empowering kids through volunteerism. Find more of her work at http://www.candidslice.com.
For more volunteer opportunities year-round, browse Carolina Parent's roundup of Volunteer and Community Service Opportunities in the Triangle.