The Summer of Change

There's always a way to give back—and this chart will help you find your perfect volunteer opportunity (no more excuses!)

Challenge #1: I’m too busy to volunteer regularly.

The Solution:

If your schedule is packed with sports camps and a part-time job, find a one-day event or start a project that you can chip away at in small chunks. 

How much time do you have?

► One hour → Bake your famous muffins for the local soup kitchen.

 

► One day → Participate in a road race that raises money for breast cancer. 

 

► A few minutes every day → Knit hats for preemie babies in the hospital.

 

Challenge #2: I’m not sure how to help others.

The Solution: 

You may not have a cause yet—and that’s OK! Start with your talents or passions, then think about who might need them. Say you’re a dog-loving social media whiz—reach out to an animal shelter and offer to maintain its Facebook page. 

 

What do you love most? 

► Books → Encourage literacy by reading to kids at the library.

► Technology → Host a workshop teaching senior citizens how to use email.

► Sports ​→ Organize a fun-run group to get grade-schoolers excited about fitness.

Challenge #3: I don't have transportation.

The Solution:

Many teens are stuck at home while their parents work, but there are still plenty of ways to volunteer. For example, you can give to a hospital without actually visiting it. Think deeply about how you can rally your neighbors or volunteer virtually.

 

How far can I go?

► Stuck close to home → Start a blog or podcast that raises awareness for a cause you care about. 

► Can go door-to-door → Ask neighbors for used board games and DVDs for a hospital that needs them.

Get inspired by these creative ways to make a difference.

“My mom and I used to be homeless, so now whenever I have spare time, I help others in that position by making soap in my kitchen. I either give it directly to shelters, or I sell it and donate the proceeds. At this point, I've donated more than 10,500 soaps and raised almost $2,000!”

 —Donovan Smith, 13, New Mexico 

“I've been playing the trumpet since I was 9, so when I found out that most veterans’ funerals have an audio recording of 'Taps' instead of a live performance, I contacted a local funeral home and offered to volunteer. The first funeral I played was for a homeless veteran—it was life-changing.”  

—Katie Prior, 16, Oklahoma 

 

“By setting up recycling drives in my community, I've collected more than 27,000 pairs of used jeans. They become insulation for homes that are rebuilding after natural disasters."

—Erek Hansen, 16, Ohio 

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