By Kim Jaworski, Homeschool Resource Specialist
We always did family volunteering, but once the boys turned 13 they were encouraged to find a volunteer involvement of their own choosing. Over the years they spent time volunteering at our local library, our community cable station, and the Wildlife Rehab Center.
Teen volunteering should be part of your homeschooling experience for so many reasons. It offers a chance to do some good in the community while also:
- Giving your teen a window on career possibilities.
- Developing interpersonal experience by making friends with people who have similar interests.
- Adding experience to your student’s resume or transcript.
- Developing a source for letters of recommendation or reference for future applications to college or for jobs.
- Allowing a chance to learn new skills and try new things.
- Developing current skills to a higher level.
- Offering opportunities for travel (for older teens through Americorp or Vista programs).
- Encouraging responsibility and maturity.
- Fostering independence and confidence.
Depending on your teen’s interests and goals, you can consider these fields of volunteering, then look for an agency, non-profit or organization in your area.
Health care- at hospitals (patient escorts, library cart, gift shop), nursing homes, senior centers, blood drives.
Social Concerns- homeless shelters, women’s shelters, animal shelters, McGruff, Food shelves, animal shelters, feed my starving children, special Olympics, knit hats and scarves for a clothing shelf,
Zoos and Nature Centers- tours, animal care, clean up, gift shops, fundraising, animal rehabilitation,
Environmental groups- air pollution, water pollution, waste management, recycling, public education and fundraising efforts, tag monarchs, count migrating birds, volunteer at a nature center,
Neighborhood involvements- clean ups, tree planting, parks dept, bike path clean up, neighborhood watch, the nursery at your church.
The Arts- museums, theatres and galleries need tour guides, ushers, fundraisers, outreach, set building, gift shop, give tours or wear period costumes at historical sites,
Politics & Govt- get out the vote, fundraising, mailings, phone work,
Literacy & Education- tutoring, ESL, computer literacy, library volunteer, book drives,
Public Safety- volunteer with your local police, fire dept or EMS.