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Published on August 27, 2014

Why and How to Volunteer as a Teen

August 27, 2014

group of teen volunteersDonating time and energy to nonprofit organizations by volunteering is obviously good for the community, but it’s also good for the volunteer. Teenagers who volunteer regularly can gain valuable experiences that supplement time spent in the classroom.

Volunteering is often promoted to teens as a way to spruce up their resume or college applications, but its benefits go beyond these image boosts. It’s a chance not only to contribute to the local community, but also to gain future career experience and practice valuable, relevant social skills.

Choosing the right position can give teens a taste of what working in a career field of their interest would be like and help them get used to interacting with professionals in that field. Getting involved in the community by volunteering also shows teens the services the community provides and the jobs it offers, helping them know what to look for in the future.

So You Want to Volunteer: What Next?

Before your teen signs up, make sure he asks himself these questions:

  • What are my interests? It’s easier to be passionate when you’re volunteering with an organization that shares your interests and supports causes you believe are valuable.
  • What is my schedule? Volunteering should fit around school and other previous commitments.
  • What do I want to gain from this experience? Volunteer for a position you’re interested in to best help you learn valuable skills.

Where to Look

Many national organizations have local chapters that offer a variety of volunteer positions and encourage teens to join. Go to these websites to find how you can support their worthy causes where you live:

  • FeedingAmerica.org. Feeding America helps support local and national food banks and food assistance programs. Click “Get Involved” on their main page to find out how to help.
  • RedCross.org. The American Red Cross leads a wide variety of domestic and international health and disaster relief efforts. The “Ways to Help” link on the front page will explain how to get involved.
  • UnitedWay.org. United Way provides educational, health and financial stability services for local communities. Go to the “Take Action” tab to find volunteer opportunities in your community.
  • KishHealth.org. Girls and boys, ages 13-17, can become TAGS. TeenAge Group Service is a year round program. TAGS help out in the evening, on weekends and when school is not in session. TAGS orientation and training is in the summer.

Sources: kidshealth.orgvolunteernow.orgtalkaboutgiving.orgbls.govfeedingamerica.org,redcross.orgunitedway.org

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