Ten Ways for Your Teen to Volunteer This Summer

By Harlisha Homer April 11, 2018

What are your teenagers doing this summer? Outside of working or camps, many cities offer summer service programs specifically for teens. Check with Douglas County Libraries, Dumb Friends League, and your town website for teen volunteer or ambassador programs and opportunities that are a fit for your teen's interests.

1. Animals. Many zoos, aquariums, and animal shelters offer programs for teens. Some even have career programs (check for application deadlines), while others simply require a general volunteer application for ongoing work. Your teen could also set up a drive for your local animal shelter, as many need items such as towels or pet supplies.

2. Art and/or the arts. Local art museums, community arts programs, and local theaters often have ambassador programs, teen advisory boards, docent programs, or other opportunities to serve. Many community theaters offer opportunities for teens to work backstage, serve as ushers, or work as interns.

3. Outdoor interests. State and local parks, local nature centers, botanical gardens, and/or swim beaches often have programs for teens.

4. Science, medicine, and health. From time to time, local hospitals offer programs for teens who are interested in the health field. Some non-profits that serve ill children also have volunteer opportunities.

5. Law enforcement and public policy. Certain cities, no matter the size, offer junior citizenship academies or teen courts, as well as opportunities to serve local public officials.

6. Literacy. Your public library provides a great opportunity for your teen to serve the community, and libraries often allow younger volunteers.

7. Food banks and shelters. Many local food banks and shelters need to be replenished. Your teen can organize a food, clothing, or supply drive for these agencies, or they can opt to help serve at the agency.

8. Senior citizens. Residents at senior facilities often like interacting with young people. Check with your local facility to see how your teen can assist. Some cities also have meal delivery programs for seniors that may need teen assistance. Teens can also help seniors stay connected with out-of-state family members by setting up and teaching about social media sites, media, photo sharing, and more.

9. Youth. Summer is a great time to help at a local non-profit child care facility or camp, at a summer school, or with a youth sports team. It's also a great time to organize a school supply drive for students who need them.

10. Historical interests. Historical societies and history museums often have opportunities for teens who like history and want to learn more about preservation.