There are so many wonderful reasons to design youth volunteer opportunities at your organization. Per the Corporation for National and Community Service, children who volunteer are less likely to engage in risky behavior, and even do better in school. Other studies also show that toddlers as young as two feel happy when helping others. Youth volunteerism benefits organizations too. Children who volunteer bring a sense of fun and energy to a project, and they are about twice as likely to volunteer as adults. By designing a quality volunteer opportunity for children, an organization can open its doors to a truly win-win experience for everyone.
Youth Volunteer Opportunity Tips
Like family-friendly volunteer opportunities, youth volunteer opportunities should be designed with children’s unique needs and abilities. Unlike family volunteer opportunities, however, you can design youth-focused opportunities for large groups of children and their chaperones; their parents and siblings may or may not be involved. This allows organizations to tailor their opportunities to a very specific age group.
When designing a kid-friendly opportunity or event, reach out to local youth groups, such as Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4-H, and church youth groups. Not only are these groups constantly on the lookout for great community service opportunities, they are also a great resource for valuable feedback and kid-friendly volunteer ideas. If your volunteer opportunity is more teen-appropriate, consider reaching out to teens in the judicial system. Most of these teens must complete hours of community service, and they truly benefit from helping others and gaining a much-needed connection with their community.
Examples of Youth Volunteer Opportunities
- Kid-friendly garden projects at your community garden
- Holding a cleanup day at a park or beach
- Spending time with the elderly at a nursing home
- Creating a make-a-friend program at a children’s hospital
- Baking cookies, singing carols, or playing music for the homebound
- Making cards, decorations, or pictures to decorate nursing homes and hospitals
- Walking dogs and socializing cats at an animal rescue center
Photo by Amir Omar