Great Programs That Need Teen Volunteers
Sometimes an uninvolved teen needs a little direction in order to find what they are truly passionate about in life. Although they are still figuring themselves out, volunteering is a great way to not only occupy a troubled teen’s time, but teach the value of giving themselves freely to a great cause that can inspire confidence.
Troubled teen residential programs often offer volunteer opportunities as a way to encourage social interaction in a safe space, and give troubled teens a sense of accomplishment. Volunteering is also great to combine with an online program for teens if you are trying to get help on a budget. See below for some great ideas for teen volunteer opportunities.
Habitat for Humanity. This long-standing company is local to many communities, so it’s a great way to give back to families you may have seen in your area. It’s a great team building exercise as it takes a large group of people to build a sturdy home. Volunteers will learn valuable construction skills in a supervised and safe environment and give a home to a well-deserved family in their community.
Local animal shelters. For a teen that loves animals, shelters are always in need of volunteers to help feed, walk, bathe and care for the animals that they take in. Animal care is a well-studied therapeutic way for troubled teens to learn compassion, as well as have a sense of accomplishment by seeing an animal thrive under their care.
Hospitals. Similar to shelters, hospitals are always needing volunteers to improve patient care. A teen can do anything from work in the gift shop, read or play games with the pediatric ward. Although their physical care can be limited in a hospital environment, teens will learn the benefit of emotionally caring for a patient, and seeing how mental happiness can improve physical health as well.
The YMCA. Local YMCAs offer so much to the community, from health and fitness classes to youth sports, and some even provide cheap lodging for overnight guests. Volunteers can help by coaching sports, tutoring adult literacy classes or working with after-school programs. By mentoring those older or younger than them, teens can learn that all stages of life have their own challenges, but help is always available.
The Red Cross. Even if the thought of donating blood makes your teen squeamish, there are plenty of other volunteer opportunities with the Red Cross. Greeting donors, organizing events, publicizing drives or doing paperwork are tasks that all need to be done to make this life-saving organization successful.
Retirement homes. While some retirement home residents get plenty of visitors, there are unfortunately those that may have no local or living family, which can be very lonely. Having your teen volunteer to spend time with the elderly can give them a new perspective on life by learning about the long lives of generations before them.