Service Ideas for Teenagers and Young People
Encouraging teens in service and helping others can be a tough sell when there are football games to get to, choir and soccer practices to juggle, and homework loads to sift through. Serving in the community and giving back to others are key experiences, however, during those formative years. Help your teen find a way to fit volunteering in with these 5 ideas:
1. Join a school service group or club: Talk to your teen about clubs at school that interest them and focus on giving back. Interact, Kiwanis and Acts of Kindness clubs connect youth with local service organizations and volunteer opportunities while allowing them to serve their community with their friends and peers.
2. Invent their own: During the month of October, anyone, including teens, can submit a service project idea in the My Fresh Page Project contest from YMCA. Your teen could win a grant worth up to $5,000 to make their idea come to life! Any creative and thoughtful idea counts (and teens can encourage their family and friends to vote for them), more info here.
3. Find a way to help from home: Service isn't always hands on in the soup kitchen or food bank. Active students can also find ways to give back from home - virtual and micro-volunteer opportunities offer students the chance to put their tech savvy to use for nonprofits and community groups who need help managing social accounts, websites, and more. Try SkillsforChange or VolunteerMatch to get started.
4. Pursue their passions: The purpose of volunteering is not just to help others, but to help teens discover new interests and things about themselves. Inspire your teen to think about how they would like to give back and help them find a way to do so at least once a semester incorporating their special skills and interests. For example, if you teen loves pets, connect with a community animal shelter for volunteer opportunities. If your teen loves to cook, assist them in preparing a meal for an elderly neighbor.
5. Join with friends: Serving the community takes a community, and what better way for teens to socialize and practice teamwork than by committing to giving back together. Challenge your teen and their friends to find a way to make a difference together - maybe it's holding a yard sale and donating the money together, hosting a bake sale to end childhood hunger, donating their childhood storybooks to the library - the ideas are endless.