Volunteer activities for high school students

Photo credit: Tmuna Fish

You already know why you should volunteer, so the next questions is, where? To help you get started, we’ve created a list of places that might have volunteer opportunities available for high school students.

Every organization has their own rules for volunteers. Some organizations treat volunteers like interns or employees, so you may have to fill out an application and go to an interview before you’re accepted. Other places are more relaxed and you may be able to drop in whenever you have a free afternoon.

While these places may accept volunteers under 18, you could be assigned different tasks if you’re under age. For example, you may not be able to serve meals at a soup kitchen or handle animals at the humane society if you’re under 18. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t volunteer at those places – there are still plenty of ways you could help. Remember that part of volunteering is doing work, so while you could be reading to little kids at a library or planting flowers at a garden center, you may also be re-shelving books or picking weeds. Make sure you go in with an open mind.

Farms, garden centers, or nurseries
If you love the outdoors, this one’s a no brainer. Not all garden centers or nurseries are allowed to accept volunteers, so don’t be discouraged if the first one you call says no.
Organic farms often accept volunteers, but if you ask a local farm they might be excited to have your help as well. Some organic farms have established volunteer programs and you may need to be 18 or go with an adult. Some programs have a fee (these are usually overnight “camps” so you pay for room and board), so check out all the details before you sign up. You can check out this list to start your search for farms near you.

Local library
Libraries are always looking for volunteers and they’re often flexible about hours and projects. You could help out at events, workshops, reading programs, checking out books, or re-shelving and organizing materials.

Senior center
Whether it’s performing at a senior center with your school choir, delivering meals to seniors in their own homes, or spending time with one person every week, seniors love visitors. Check out this list of senior centers from the Meals on Wheels website.

Homeless shelter/Soup kitchen
Besides providing meals and a place to sleep, homeless shelters and soup kitchens have other services such as housing and job assistance as well as mailroom and laundry facilities. So if you aren’t available during meal hours to help at the soup kitchen, there may be other opportunities during the day. Find a homeless shelter or a soup kitchen near you.

Women’s shelter
You must be able to show you’re committed and trustworthy to volunteer at a women’s shelter. They’ll probably do a background check and you may have to go through an interview process and orientation before you get started. Once you’re in, you could help answer phones, manage their website, research resources, babysit, or assist with fundraising or workshops. Find a women's shelter near you.

Humane society
Like women’s shelters, volunteers at humane societies generally go through an application, interview, and training process. If you’re under 18, you can help with pet facilitated therapy programs, doing administrative work, or assisting with fundraising or collecting supplies. Check out humane societies and their website for teens.


>>6 more ways to volunteer in high school