If you are interested in helping your community through volunteer work over the summer but are kind of lost as a high school student- welcome to a concise compilation of opportunities you may pursue or springboard off to greater heights in your humanitarian work. It is truly a great way to spend your summer when you help others.
1. Tutoring Younger students (virtually)
If you are passionate about teaching younger students, virtual tutoring through organizations such as Learn To Be and Schools on Wheels may be a fun way to volunteer over the summer. Learn To Be provides tutoring to children living in underserved communities on a more national scale. Schools on Wheels is a volunteer organization dedicated to making a difference by tutoring homeless children. Not only do you get to help your younger peers with schoolwork, but you can also strengthen your own core concepts.
2. Volunteering at an animal shelter
Not a people person? That’s okay; if you believe animals are way better than people and want to volunteer your time over the summer, consider volunteering at a local animal shelter or hospital. At a local animal shelter, a student can be expected to help their animals find homes, clean, provide administrative assistance, and more. Incorporate your love for animals and nature into your summer plans!
3. Organize book/toy drives for local hospitals
Organizing a book or toy drive is definitely a meaningful way to spend your summer- it will bring joy to many children who can't enjoy many aspects of summer, to begin with. By starting these books or toy drives for local hospitals, you can be the catalyst for changing these kids' lives by bringing them indescribable joy! Start with your local hospitals and get your friends involved to create a greater impact.
4. Volunteer at a soup kitchen
Soup kitchens provide food and other resources for families in need. By volunteering at a soup kitchen, you learn how to form strong connections with others and strengthen your ability to drop biases and show empathy toward individuals. There is always a spirit of giving in soup kitchens, and you become a vessel of kindness and generosity.
5. Volunteer at a Local Library
If you’re a bibliophile and always have your head stuck in a book, perhaps consider volunteering at a local library. Students learn many skills by volunteering at libraries, such as organization and responsibility, including how to take inventory of a library’s entire collection (which is, admittedly, an arduous task from my experience, but nonetheless useful in strengthening your organizational skills).
6. Help local nonprofits with causes you are passionate about
As someone who is very passionate about mental health advocacy, I raised money for a children’s advocacy center near me, but you can also volunteer for small positions at numerous nonprofits as well. It’s important to be invested in a nonprofit’s mission statement or masthead; this makes the connection and overall process way easier. You can support these organizations by promoting them on social media or helping them build their platforms as well; nonprofits always appreciate any volunteers they get!
7. Advocate for Social Issues through a Letter-Writing Campaign
Letter-writing campaigns are more involved in the political scheme of volunteering and are especially important if you want to create change on a larger scale or advocate for something you wish to see implemented in your community. Raising your voice as a valuable member of your community and banding with other community members to write to a local politician or board of education member might lead to changes in legislation. Relaying your ideas and feelings is a crucial way to change others' lives for the better!
8. Record history
As a student, exploring a volunteer opportunity as an archivist may be an interesting pursuit. As you preserve valuable history and make it accessible to the general public, you will be transcribing historical documents through Citizen Archivist. You can “make contributions to The National Archives Catalog to enhance access and discoverability,” and anyone can do this free of charge!
9. Put your bilingual skills to a good cause
Are you bilingual or a polyglot? Then, perhaps you should consider becoming a translator through organizations such as Translators Without Borders, Tarjimly, and Bookshare. There are plenty of benefits to becoming a high school translator, including the fact that you can help people assimilate to their new surroundings and be the bridge between the language barrier.
10. Teach music to younger kids at local school summer camps
If you are a musically inclined person, then teaching music to younger students is a fun way to both enhance your musical skills and help others. Organize a small group of young students just starting to play the instrument you play (such as the violin), or organize a program at a school summer camp. While teaching kids can be challenging, after lots of practice and perseverance, the experience is very rewarding.
Though it may pose a challenge to get more awareness about such opportunities near you, there is a multitude of ways you can get notified of volunteer opportunities in your vicinity. You can ask members of different school clubs and research various internet sources such as online databases (DoSomething) that offer tailored information about organizations you might be interested in getting involved with. Above all, if you deeply explore your passions and interests, the sky's the limit for the number of opportunities you have at your fingertips.