Innovative Community Service Ideas For Teens! (Part 1) | #Volunteer

Sharing buttons:

If you're wondering what kinds of community service opportunities you can

do as a teenager to make a big impact, or having difficulty finding opportunities

to join in because of your age, this video is for you!

There's so much good stuff to share on this topic that I'm actually breaking

this down into two separate videos. So this will be video number one, but check

back soon for the second video as part of the series. Ah! This is one of my

favorite topics! Welcome back! I'm Amber Melanie Smith and I help

aspiring changemakers with tips and strategies to help you change the world

while living a life of impact and purpose - and that definitely includes

teens! Teens you are awesome! You want to make a difference and use your skills

and talents to help change the world - but the world doesn't always make it easy

for you. I get you. I've been there. So through my

nonprofit work, I regularly engage with people of all ages

to connect them to volunteer opportunities with hundreds of causes in

my local community. I know first hand that finding volunteer service

opportunities can be kind of a challenge for teen. So if you're a teen, or a parent,

who has tried to find community service opportunities, you may have discovered

some difficulties in finding volunteer opportunities that will take people

under 18, finding service opportunities that are accessible, or nearby, or finding

the right opportunities that fit your special skills and interests. So here's

the inside scoop - You might have heard this already - but it's not that

nonprofits don't want to work with teens. On the contrary, many do! Teens are

awesome! And this generation especially is kicking some serious butt in the

social change arena. But nonprofits may face liability issues when it comes to

working of the volunteers under age 18. Other things might stand in the way of

teens getting involved - like access to transportation, or school or after school

work schedules, that make it difficult to get opportunities that line up. One

thing's for sure, though - teens can and have changed the world through service.

I've met plenty of them through my own work. I've met teens organizing plastic

waste reduction campaigns, planning events to combat bullying in their

schools, and so much more. Across the country, countless other examples follow -

from 13 year old Paloma Rambana who convinced the Florida Legislature to

approve over a million dollars in funding to

support programs for visually impaired kids. To Zach Bonner who when he was 12

years old WALKED across the country to raise awareness and funds to combat

youth homelessness. To the Enloe High School student council in my home town,

who every year rallies their entire school to raise over $200,000

in just five months for a charity that they picked together. It's

like, what are we doing with our lives? There's really no limit to what teens

are capable of changing in their communities, no matter who believes they

can do it, or what stands in their way. So let's get into this! Here are some unique

community service ideas that you might not have considered where you can make a

big impact, build up your special skills and talents, and have a great time while

you're doing it. So I've broken this down into 3 sections. 1) Community

service ideas for teens that they can do that meet nonprofits existing needs.

2) Unique service project ideas that teens can design and lead to help a cause they

care about, and 3) Service ideas you can combine with other things you might

have going on in life - like an after-school job,

extracurricular activities, or driving practice to get your license, and more. As

I mentioned before, this video will be broken down into two separate videos.

I'll be covering part 1 in this video and parts 2 and 3 in the video to

come, so please remember to check back and check that out.

For this first part I just wanted to share a couple of ideas that I've seen

in my own community and also in other cities across the country. These are some

unexpected, unique ways that you can get involved in service as a teen. I always

like to draw attention to some of these unique ways to give back, because people

have such a specific idea about volunteering and what it entails. Usually

when people think of volunteering they're thinking of the very well-known

opportunities - like serving in a soup kitchen or at a shelter, or building a

home with Habitat for Humanity. And volunteering definitely includes those

things! But it includes a lot more! Quick disclaimer that of course these

opportunities will vary by city and state, but the ones that I'm going to

share I've seen in a couple of different areas. Idea number one - Join a teen

advisory board or a junior board, and work alongside the organization that you

care about's leadership helping shape the vision, raise money for the cause, and

be a spokesperson for that cause. It's pretty awesome. Teen advisory boards and

leadership boards are an excellent way to hone those leadership skills, AND look

great on a college application. Number two: Make videos or take pictures! This is

such a cool way for teens to be able to use their skills to help nonprofits tell

they're super important stories. Man, I know so many nonprofits who need this. So

this would mean maybe that you are helping taking video at a nonprofit's big

events, or helping interview the clients that they serve, or taking pictures of

some of the ways that they're making an impact. I know a lot of animal shelters

really love to have people take photos of the animals that they're trying to

get adopted, because having that really good picture helps those animals. This

is a huge way that teens can make an impact using the skills they already

have today. Number three is being a puppy raiser!

This is a great way to show the parents that you are very responsible and

definitely deserve to have a pet of your very own.

So a puppy raiser - I'm sure there could also be a Kitty raiser - is a volunteer

that helps an animal nonprofit raise and socialize their pets that are up for

adoption. So this could mean that you are fostering the pet in your home; it could

mean that you're coming into spend time with the animal or helping

train the animal, and a lot of other things involved in getting the animal

ready for adoption. The fourth idea is to use your writing

skills! When I was a teen I loved to write, and I've met so many teens today

that are also really good writers. And so nonprofits need your help to write

articles for their blog content, for their website, social media posts, and

more. Writing is such an important skill to have, and it translates to anything

you could possibly want to do in life, so why not use it to help a cause that you

care about? Another idea is to host a group discussion on a really important

issue that you care about. I know this seems too easy to be a legit community

service opportunity, but I promise you that it is. There are national

organizations that are trying to raise awareness about different issues -

especially global issues - that we're facing across the whole world and they

really rely on everyday people spreading the word and talking to their friends,

and engaging in really interesting and in depth debates about the issues that

people are facing. So if you love to have a great conversation and are good at

getting your friends involved, this could be a really cool opportunity for you. The

next idea is a graphic design volunteer! So many nonprofits need people with a

great eye for design and graphic design technical experience - who can create

flyers, and posters, or logos, or website graphics - you name it! If you've got

graphic design skills and this is something you have fun doing, this is an

awesome way for you to be able to help a cause that you care about. It doesn't

hurt that everything you do can go in your design portfolio. Also, here's a

really fun one I saw recently: Puppeteer! Yep, I said puppeteer! There are some

amazing nonprofit theaters across the country who need people to help with a

variety of things that they do - from being a puppeteer, to being an actor in

one of their productions, or even designing or painting their props for

the stage. So if you're someone who already loves drama and the stage, this

could be for you. This one's really fun - host

a baking party for the Ronald McDonald House! Like lots of charities, the Ronald

McDonald House has chapters all around the country, so if you're interested in

doing something like this just find a chapter in your city. The Ronald McDonald

House houses families who are in another state or another city far away from

their home who need to stay near a hospital where their child is receiving

treatment for a long-term illness. So warm, freshly baked goods can help folks

feel at home while they're far away from their real home. How you do this is you

would gather your friends together and decide what sort of baked treats you're

going to make and make them and bring them to the Ronald McDonald House. In

some cases the house also has a kitchen, so you could bring your friends to the

kitchen to bake them there, or even decorate them there.

A quick note that many of the Ronald McDonald Houses that I know of require

at least one adult to be in the group of teens, but you can still gather your teen

friends to participate with you. The final community service idea in this

category that I want to mention is this idea of a "take home project". So if a

non-profit that you want to work with agrees, you can potentially do certain

types of service projects in your own house. Some of these types of projects

that I've helped implement with teens and kids in my own community include

making no-sew blankets for infants or adoptable pets, creating courage cards

for kids who are in the hospital, or writing letters to the troops. I hope you

liked this video! If you did, please give it a thumbs up, and don't forget - if

you're on Facebook - you can join in on conversations with me and other

changemakers in my group, "Change the world or bust". As always the link is in

the description below. Thanks so much for watching!