As a high school student, you may be finding yourself becoming more and more interested in volunteering to benefit your community, the planet, or even various charities. Perhaps you were introduced through great organizations like the Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts, and now you’re just itching to do more. Well, there’s certainly plenty to choose from.
Here are six different volunteer efforts you can engage in to better our world or mankind.
Volunteering at your local soup kitchen can be a quick and easy way to get your feet wet in volunteering. Doing anything from serving the food to cooking it, you can certainly find a way to be helpful without requiring any special skills that can’t be learned on the job.
If you don’t know where one is or how to get involved, start out with a quick Google search of “soup kitchen (your city’s name)”. Many of them have websites where you can get in touch with them and schedule a time to go and help out for a couple hours. You can also contact your local church or religious community. Often, these communities have ties to local volunteering organizations.
Give Blood and Save Lives
It seems like something that’s so simple. Your school might even run its own Red Cross blood drive. Maybe you passed it up because you hate needles or just couldn’t be bothered with it. However, the fact of the matter is that your blood can save a lot of innocent lives. From accident victims to shootings to disease, blood transfusions save countless lives per year.
With something that’s so easy to do, why not get out there and do it? It only takes a small amount of your time and is completely free. If you don’t have the time to do anything else, you can at least give an hour or so of your time to perhaps save someone’s life. Contact your local blood bank or check out the Red Cross website to see where and when you can go give blood.
If it’s summer vacation and you’ve got time to burn, consider taking a trip abroad to volunteer in a foreign country. An organization can hook you up with an opportunity to assist with a wide range of things in a developing country. You could find yourself doing anything from helping at a wildlife sanctuary to teaching kids how to surf in Africa or even teaching your native language to eager students. You can choose whatever you’d like to do.
Granted, these trips aren’t free, but they aren’t expensive relative to a vacation either. You’re also getting a lot of bang for your buck, with traveler’s insurance, lodging, and 3 meals a day often provided. Maybe take some of that money you’ve been saving up from your part-time job or ask your parents really nicely and go on a volunteering adventure that could change your life.
Many state parks offer volunteering options for students. You can engage in activities like maintenance, trail construction, or educational programs. You can be a part of preserving the park and all its natural beauty.
Contact your own state park or check out their website for contact information and possible information about volunteering options you can engage in. Just think of it as an excuse to spend some time out soaking up some nature.
Work on an Organic Farm
Available in many countries, WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) lets you experience the simple life for yourself. You can work on a farm in a variety of different countries, ranging from the US, to Australia, to India. You’ll likely work 4-6 hours a day helping out with the day to day farm chores and earning valuable skills and experience you can take with you in life. As the types of farms vary, you could find yourself staying at anything from a vineyard to a farm that specializes in cheese making.
You can stay at the host farm for as long as you and the host family agree on. If you want to cut costs on travel expenses, you might be able to stay on a farm in your home country. If you’re under 18, your options on available countries abroad might be limited, but there are still some places you can go.
If you’re an animal lover, you may also consider helping out at your local animal shelter. A lot of animal shelters have extensive volunteer programs (with some being entirely run by volunteers). Volunteers are always welcome to come in and care for the animals, clean up, and make appearances with some of the animals to aid adoption. Call your local animal shelter or check out their website if you’d like to work with some cuddly critters in your off time.
As you can see, the opportunities for young social entrepreneurs to volunteer are endless. Start researching your ideal method of volunteering and see if you can get involved sometime soon. Don’t think it won’t make a difference. It will probably make more of a difference than you can possibly imagine.
Contributed by Nick Bartholomew