Volunteer Program Resources for Teens

Volunteer opportunities for teenagers abound in the US, but many do not know how to access them.  Whether your interests lean toward caring for animals, helping the elderly, or simply empowering your community- there is a perfect volunteer position for you.

Volunteer Match.org and Idealist.org are great places to start searching for a volunteer job.  You can search by city or zip code, and get a narrowed list of opportunities near you.  Each description contains vital information about the organization and requirements including age limits.  Not all volunteer jobs are open to minors, but do not be discouraged.  If your dream position is unavailable due to your age, consider what a great volunteer you will be in a few years with some experience under your belt.  These websites cover many different kinds of organizations, you might be surprised what you find!

If you like animals, consider your local Humane Society or other pet rescues.  Most rescues are always in dire need of volunteers to pet, walk, and play with animals.  Other duties may include office work, posting flyers, and helping at special events.  You can find a list of rescues and animal organizations in your area by going to petfinder.com and entering your zipcode.  Some kennels and veterinarians also accept volunteers and are a great place to learn about animal care.

For those interested in health care or assisting the elderly, local nursing homes and hospices are a great choice.  These rewarding jobs can include reading to patients, helping with games and activities, or simply watching a movie with a lonely resident.  The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization website, NHPCO.org, can help you find a facility to contact.  You may also inquire by speaking to an activities director in a nursing facility near you.

Whatever you choose to pursue, keep in mind that volunteering is a commitment.  When you sign on as a volunteer, people count on you to fulfill your requirements.  Always be honest about your abilities, experience level, and availability.

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