Volunteer Opportunities for Teens & Young Adults
Archived Q&A and Reviews
I'm a Psychology major/Criminal Justice minor and will graduate in 2016. Do you need a summer intern or volunteer or have suggestions for jobs, internships or volunteering? I'm very hard working, organized, can work independently but love being part of a group. Thanks so much for your ideas.. Anna
You might want to check out: http://www.communityyouthcourts.com/Community_Youth_Courts/Home.html
Hello, My 13.5 year old daughter is looking for ongoing volunteer opportunities that require about 2-4 hours of her time each week. She's really interested in medicine / healthcare and also in working with children. We looked at hospitals etc but she does not meet their minimum age requirement (16). We would greatly appreciate any ideas / suggestions pointing us to organizations that will accept her. Thank you so very much in advance. -Tara
Berkeley Animal Shelter is taking volunteers http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/City_Manager/Animal_Shelter/Volunteer_Services.aspx You would need to go with her, but they accept that. My daughter volunteered at Berkeley Humane Society - but their website says new volunteer orientations are on hold. You might call them to see if this is still true (510) 845-7735 The Animal Shelter is the city shelter and the Berkeley Humane Society is an independent NPO. Many people work with animals or assist a veterinarian when they are young to get medical experience. Most programs are going to require an older age than 13 so the Berkeley Animal Shelter might work out. Also usually children can usually volunteer at their own school's after school programs if there is one, and they are accepted by the teacher as a helper.
If she is interested in babysitting - get on the waitlist for this class http://www.bananasinc.org/events/teen-babysitting-class-0 It is an excellent program - been serving the community for years. Babysitting is great experience to know whether you have the patience for working with children. Hope that helps. Appreciate Volunteers
Try www.volunteennation.org. Students can type in their zip code and what type of community service they're interested in (e.g., medical/health), and it will show them a list of local organizations accepting volunteer students their age. I also recommend www.Raise.Me, a website where colleges will award your daughter college scholarship money every time she completes an hour of volunteering. Reggie
This is a belated reply to the inquiry about volunteer opportunities for the girl interested in health care: Have you asked about helping at assisted living facilities and/or childrens' play areas at clinics or other institutions? Perhaps your daughter's pediatrician would allow her to ''shadow'' him/her for an occasional morning or afternoon. (The doctor may have suggestions for volunteer opportunities, too.) As you mention, more possibilities will open up as your daughter gets older: candy striper, ward clerk, etc. You could also check in with the volunteer organizations she plans to apply to later and ask for recommendations on what she could be doing now. Good luck! Anon
My daughter is still scrambling to find some volunteer opportunity in community projects or healthcare related. She's hard working, willing to help do whatever but has to work around her summer school class. She is available daily after 4pm, all day Friday/Sat./Sundays. If you can suggest anyone who could use her help she'd be grateful. She's trying to get more experience and exposure related to her Psych Major but she'd consider nearly everything (she'll be a college junior next year). Her summer school schedule has made it harder but thanks for your thoughts. Need Summer Project
Would your daughter be interested in working at a residential treatment center for children or adults? Most residents have issues related to mental health and there is a strong mental health component to many centers. Also, they have round-the-clock shift work and are often looking for people to fill the less conventional time slots -- overnight and weekends. The pay is not great, but often they need people full or part time. Also, having the psych background is looked at as a plus. She would need to pass a background check. Oakland Parent
Our son will be high school senior next year (incredible!) and has a 30-hour community service requirement each academic year which he would like to complete over the summer. He's a very responsible, mature young man, looking forward to college and then law school. We'd like to either find a local internship (perhaps politics or government service?) or a program abroad (like Vision Service Adventures) that would allow him to have a positive impact (which is, after all, the point of community service) in a relatively short time. He speaks French and Hebrew. If you have a recommendation for a program that involves travel, or any ideas for a local internship taht would fit the bill, we'd would really appreciate your recommendations. Needs to be done in June/July as he is away (on a school field trip) all of August. Thank you
If your son would be interested in helping the fight against cancer there are oppportunities with the American Cancer Society in our San Francisco office this summer. Summertime volunteers have helped with special event preparation, office support and more. Our location is BART-able (Montgomery St) and depending on interest hours could be earned weekdays in the office or during event day and setup days on weekends. If interested please contact me. Janna Katz jkatz [at] cancer.org
Hi - Our son is searching for a community service opportunity this summer. He's a very responsible, very studious, very solid young man of 16; he is interested in current events, politics, and will be spending some time on the campaign trail for Democratic candidates. He's open to lots of different options but I think he would benefit from some structure and participating in an organized program. He is wide open to what that might look like. He will be volunteering his time (doesn't need stipend) and has transportation, but we'd like to keep things relatatively close to home, which is in North Berkeley. He's actually open to travel - we looked at a People to People program in Japan to help rebuild post- tsunami but it was very expensive (over $6000) and outside our budget. We would welcome your ideas or your referral to further resources. Many thanks
Our teenage son is going on a community service trip with VISIONS Service Adventures this summer. Their programs focus on community service. They have programs abroad but also some domestic ones, which means airfare might be more affordable. Their 3-week programs in August are a bit less expensive than the 4-week ones in June. We received some financial aid from them too which helped. Francine
I am looking for recommendations for reputable agencies that accept/assign volunteers for multiple month projects outside the United States. The volunteer is in his early 20's, has graduated high school, and one year of college. anon
If I were young and free I would be in Guatemala volunteering for Safe Passage. They have funding from organizations like Rotary. All the volunteers stay in Antigua (which is stunning) and come in by bus to Guatemala City. I've visited their school, it's a completely emotional and wonderful experience. I have been donating to one of the students for years.
From their website: Safe Passage is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization working in Guatemala City to bring hope, education, and opportunity to the children and families living in extreme poverty around the City's garbage dump. Our program includes approximately 550 children, ranging in age from 2 to 21 years, coming from nearly 300 families in the surrounding neighborhoods. Our administrative staff, led by our Executive Director, is comprised of accomplished professionals from Guatemala and around the world. Guatemalan teachers and staff are assisted by caring volunteers who come from countries all over the map, as well as from places within Guatemala.
We live on the peninsula - and are looking for a summer volunteer opportunity for our 14-year old son. I've tried some of the volunteer websites- but can't figure out how to get details about the age volunteers need to be to participate. Thanks for any help you can provide. lisa
The YMCA PG Teen Center Youth Institute is a leadership, job readiness program offered to 8th graders making the transition to high school and are seeking extra support. The program works with youth, exposing them to cutting edge technology, life skills mentoring, job readiness, academic excellence, and a wilderness retreat that strengthens team-building, problem solving, and self-efficacy skills.
The program has two components, an intensive eight-week summer workshop commencing with a one-week wilderness retreat in Kings Canyon and culminating in a publishable magazine and professionally produced video. During the eight weeks, youth will learn how to use Photoshop, video editing software, music production software, animation software, and be able to create a website. Much like a real job, students are expected to meet daily, Monday through Friday, 9:00am-4:00pm. The program runs from June 18th through August 11th and concludes with a graduation and film festival showcasing their videos. At graduation youth are presented with a $300 stipend for their participation in the program.
The school-year portion of the program picks up when school is in session and is a continuation of the skills learned during the summer workshop in addition to academic tutoring, community impact projects, and youth guided creative programming. Depending on the level of involvement students have the opportunity to get paid during the school-year as well.
This program is free, however can only accept twenty-five participants. Participants are chosen based on an application process. You can find the application here (link the application). Applications are due no later than April 2nd, 2012 and can be submitted to the Teen Center front desk (2111 Martin Luther King Jr. Way). If you have any questions, please contact Youth Institute Manager, Pegah Rahmanian at prahmanian [at] ymca-cba.org or 510 486 8415
Playland-Not-at-the-Beach could be a good place for your 14-year old to volunteer this summer. Playland is in El Cerrito, just 5 blocks from the El Cerrito Del Norte BART station. Playland is a Museum of Fun focused on providing joy and fun to everyone. Volunteers run Carnival Games where they run the game, give out tickets, and help with prize redemption. Playland looks for volunteers on weekends 10am-5pm. Contact the Volunteer Coordinator for more information at kendra [at] playland-not-at-the-beach.org or 510-232-4264 x30.
Can anyone recommend some fun and interesting youth groups in Berkeley or close by? My high school sophmore is interested to doing some community service work on the weekends. He is straight ''A'' student but no tutoring please. He needs a break from academics. He is a good writer, is interested in politics, is a runner, swimmer and is sweet with little kids. Any and all suggestions much appreciated. anonymous
For the Sophomore Teen looking to do community service near Berkeley I would recommend BuildOn (buildon.org) that does local community service as well as global education efforts. My daughter has been involved with them for 4 years at Albany HS and they have done many kinds of volunteering projects. I believe BHS also has a buildon club. In addition to volunteering, the studens do ''sponsorship'', fundraising activities to support building of schools in impoverished countries. A great program they offer is Trek For Knowledge - service learning trips. My daughter was able to go for a 2 week trip to Mali which was a life-changing experience for her. Janna
Many of us would like to get our kids involved in community service. Maybe we should start a clearing house of vetted volunteer activities with age range, training, time committment, etc. I have had high school students train at the Oakland SPCA to walk the dogs and care for the animals. My son and his friend (BHS freshmen)have spontaneously started tutoring in the afterschool OASIS program at Oxford. I know Lindsay Museum in Walnut Creek has a program for kid volunteers. There is a cadet/explorer scout program through Contra Costa Sheriff where the kids get to do ride alongs, get training and get to participate in Search and Rescue missions (depending on which unit they train with). We have some super high school kids volunteering on our 200+ member Search and Rescue. Talk about being around positive role models! It is positively reinforcing to know that you helped save someone's life and to see how much time and dedication our adults put in even with their own children, full time jobs, etc. Please email me if you would like to participate in a ''clearing house'' of opportunities or would like more info. on the Contra Costa Search and Rescue. kathryn
I am interested in fostering a spirit of volunteerism in my family. I have two kids, ages 12 and 14, and all of us could use a larger perspective. Can anyone recommend good volunteer opportunities for families? Preferably, these would be things we could do together. M.
Look for opportunities around what your teens enjoy most. I loved animals and hiking so in 6th grade I volunteered at a local nature center (Lindsey Museum in Walnut Creek trains younger volunteers) and stayed active with it through high school. Check SaveSFBay.org where you can drop in to do native plant restoration work. Have them volunteer for a clean up on Earth Day. The Berkeley Marina has a good one. Help with a kids' soccer program, Big Brother programs, helping with scouting. There are several volunteer organizations in Aquatic Park that appear to rehab bicycles (for one). Habitat for Humanity, building or repairing homes in low income neighborhoods. I volunteer for Contra Costa Sheriff and they have an outstanding Cadet program where they can volunteer in Search and Rescue. They get to hike, learn first aid, and talk about learning responsibility! kathryn
What a wonderful question - how to raise our children to have empathy and a heart for this world and those in it. My kids(11 & 14) and I have cleaned up open space together, we have delivered meals to shut-ins, we have prepared food for the homeless, and many other things. My husband and I volunteer often, but we did it quietly which I now feel was a mistake. I noticed the kids were not learning the importance of giving to others. I decided to make a posterboard chart and I bought star stickers. Each family member's name is across the top and it's posted prominently. For every hour a family member volunteered, they wrote down what they did and got a star. Dad puts his coaching down, I put leading my women's group down, and the kids put their work down. At first they only did what we signed them up for and did with them. I won't kid you, this took a lot of work finding opportunities, working with them, and we did get some attitude about 'forcing' them to go. After 2 months, the chart took on a life of its own. My youngest got very competitive about beating us on stars and started to notice ways he could volunteer at school without my help. My oldest found that most HS students are required to do community service hours and is using her chart for record- keeping. I have noticed a change in just 5 months in their attitudes and willingness to give of their time to others. The effort it took to start up this project was well worth it. So where do you find opportunities? Call your children's school. They often have clean- up, gardening, and book-fair days and really need help. If you belong to a church, they have work days like schools, but your child can also volunteer to help the younger kids in Sunday school, hand out bulletins, or get involved with the charities chosen by the church. Also, google your town and ''volunteer information center''. Virtually every town (as well the the whole Bay area) have their own information centers, so give them a call. The best advice I can give is to make YOUR charitable efforts noticeable and prominent, work alongside your kids for awhile at least, reward them for their behavior (even if it's just stars) and applaud their choices when they decide to volunteer on their own, even if they choose something that you do not personally have a heart for - and that will happen. Good luck - you are raising your children into adults of whom you can be proud! Kristy
I am thinking that my 14 year old son might benefit from volunteering this summer. Any ideas on good or interesting places to volunteer? Originally he wanted to volunteer in an animal shelter, but now he feels it will create too much yearning for a dog of our own. I don't know what other places might be possibilities for a young teen volunteer. Thanks for any ideas! anon
Try the following websites:
www.muybueno.net/articles/links/volunteer.html www.volunteersolutions.org/vccc/volunteer/ www.helpnow.org/
We were able to find some great volunteer opportunities for our teens. It helps if they can narrow it down to a topic/area they love (environment, health, medical, etc). Good luck! volunteer mom
My high school senior needs to get some community service hours. I thought the December break might be a good time to do something. Are there any ideas about places that could use a volunteer at the end of December? We live in Berkeley.
Check out the Volunteer Center of the East Bay (www.helpnow.org) or Match.com for great, youth friendly community service opportunities.
The agency I work at, Davis Street Family Resource Center, in San Leandro has great opportunities for youth as well. Contact Lawana Stuckey (lstuckey [at] davisstreet.org or 510-347-4620) to schedule a visit and sign up for holiday volunteering.
Good luck! Dawn
If your senior is looking for community services hours to remove a suspension from his/her school record, you should be aware that colleges expect that ALL disciplinary actions be reported by the student whether or not they have been ''cleared'' by their school.
The College Confidential website has posted a number of interesting responses to this issue by college admissions officers, http://www.collegeconfidential.com/experts/).Here is one of them:
''Students and parents should be told that the student must be honest in responding to all questions on a given application. Our question is worded ''have you ever...'' which means that we do expect a \x93yes\x94 response even for ''expunged'' suspensions\x97in other words, those disciplinary actions that the high school has deleted from a permanent record once a student has successfully completed a probationary period. Similarly\x97even though juvenile court records are sealed\x97we expect the student to disclose offenses to us that were handled in juvenile court. It doesn't matter if it's a matter of public or private record\x97we want the student to disclose.''
Just thought you should be aware of this, if this an issue that you are trying to address.
another anonymous parent of a senior
I'm looking for suggestions to help my daughter, a high school senior, meet her community service requirement (30 hours left). She is shy, and has a learning disability. Like many students, she does not have time for another regular after-school activity (homework, college apps, tutors, learning specialist appointments, etc. take up all her time). Any ideas appreciated. Thanks
The Oakland SPCA is always looking for volunteers, and I know they have lots of people working on the weekends. She may have to do some training first. Check it out. jenny
Hello, A community service opportunity that has worked wonders for my son is the Goat Ranger volunteering program at the Oakland Zoo. The person who runs the program is Jayne Ellen Kovacevich and you can get in touch with her by contacting the Volunteer co-ordinator at the Zoo. The children are great as well as all the zoo personnel and they get to do exciting things both with the animals and the crowd. They also get to do other things with the animals like feeding etc and visiting and petting the babies when they are born. My son loves it there and I am sure your daughter will too. My son is currently a senior also. Deepa
to anyone needing a community service idea for their kids...blankets for babies is a wonderful idea. make quilts for babies in the neonatal intensive care unit at packard children's hospital at stanford. i run this program and am always looking for more volunteers to support this effort. if you google ''blankets for babies'' it will pop up as the first reference site (it's a bit tricky to directly use the email address, as it goes through the packard site) and give you all the details and requirements. i am available for any further questions. i like to have the volunteer (if possible) bring the blankets/quilts to the unit and i give them a tour of the unit so they can see where their good work is going. i also like to do a bit of a career day with them to teach what a day in the life of a nicu nurse is all about. i will sign off any paper work they need to validate the project. i have had over 100 students participate in this project with great success. kate
Hi Leslie--Would your daughter like to do her community service outdoors, and on weekends? Friends of Five Creeks is a volunteer group that plants, restores, and generally cares for creeks in Berkeley. We often have individual students (or groups) working with us. It's fun, not hard, and you see results! See web site, or call 848-9358. --Stephanie
Another good community service opportunity is Dorothy Day House. DDH serves breakfast six days a week to Berkeley's less fortunate population. Volunteers are needed to help prepare breakfast and to serve it. Interested individuals (students or adults) should contact Kessy at 637-8217 or Richard at 781-985-0981. JAB
My 15 year old son would like to volunteer in the hispanic community. His grandparents are Mexican but live in another state and he is feeling a longing to connect further with his heritage while being of service to others - specifically abuelos y abuelas. Please let us hear of your recommendations mama
He could try the Multicultural Institute, an after-school tutoring organization, or BAHIA preschool, both in Berkeley.
My organization, Lawrence Hall of Science, has a grant for outreach to Hispanic communities. For instance, we will be at the Dia de los Muertos event in the Fruitvale on November 5. We take a crew to such events to lead hands-on demonstrations, hand out information, talk to visitors, etc. Perhaps your son could be part of our outreach team. If you and your son are interested in learning more about this project as well as other opportunities for teenage volunteers at LHS, please contact me at the email below. Linda
My 14 year old son is entering BHS Independent Studies. I am looking for opportunities for him to volunteer/intern during the days that he has free time (wandering around downtown just doesn't cut it). Any and all suggestions are welcome. Thanks, IS Mom
I don't know if your teen would be interested in weekend volunteering - my daughter and I are on the ''Sunday Crew'' at the Western Aerospace Museum by Oakland Airport - I do the bookkeeping and my daughter works on the planes. It is fun and educational and the ''chief'' of the Sunday crew is a high school teacher who is really great with the kids. I know there are volunteer opportunities on other days also. Barbara
If your son likes animals (dogs and cats mostly) he can volunteer at the Milo Foundation pet adoption store on Solano Avenue in Bkly. You have to be 12 or over to volunteer without a parent. Most kids are there after school so they might welcome a daytime student. There are dogs to be walked, kitties adn puppies to be cleaned up after and cuddled, lots of odd jobs around.My 10 yo son and I volunteer there. My son LOVES it. Also the Berkeley East Bay Humane Society welcomes volunteers though I am not familiar with the protocol for age, etc. Good luck. June
Our 18 year old daughter volunteered with ''Food Not Bombs'' in Oakland when she was home over the holidays. She LOVED it. Food prep, heavy work and serving food to people at People's Park. Ilene
hello, if your child likes children then i would strongly encourage you to check out the berkeley public school volunteer program. i am a writer coach volunteer. i assist junior high school students with their writing on a weekly basis. i was very pleasantly surprised by the depth and organization of the berkely school volunteer program. you can contact the volunteer department and they can connect your child with just about any school-related job. working in the classroom, in the library, in an office setting, reading to children... all ages are encouraged to donate their time to the schools. the young, students as well as the elderly. good luck in finding a match
I am looking for summer volunteer opportunities for older kids and pre-teens, preferably that do not require my own supervision. They love animals. I would also like them to have experience in some program which helps out people who have less then they do with their middle class background (family shelters, immigrants, etc). Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
My 20-year-old son is thinking about volunteering this spring/summer before school starts in the fall. The organizations we've checked out expect payment from him. He's interested in politics, international experiences; has talent in art, writing; experience in construction, child care. He'll go anywhere in the world. The problem is that he has no money to even pay his rent unless he works, so needs an opportunity that includes accommodations. Thanks for your ideas. The Mom
I have been volunteering for the past 6 months or so at places that I found by going to http://www.volunteeronline.org. Check it out, I found two places to volunteer for: loved one, dropped one and am still enjoying the first. Hey, and congrats on having a socially conscious kid - good parenting, I suppose! Volunteering mama
Check with the reference librarian. There are several catalogs of opportunities for Internships, doing all sorts of things. The internship often pays a small stipend, includes places to live, etc. Internship sounds more like what your son needs right now. I hope he finds something wonderful! Ilene
Our daughter's nanny recently moved to the area and does not know many people. She is 23 years old and would like to volunteer some time to worthy organizations that would also give her the opportunity to meet other young volunteers in their 20s. Any suggestions would be very appreciated - thank you.
Hi, I work with a wonderful group that is volunteer driven. Most volunteers attend CAL or are in their early 20s. The Special Needs Aquatic Program (SNAP) is a motor development program in the water for children with a variety of strengths and challenges. The committment is one hour per week in Berkeley. She must be a good swimmer, like children, and be a warm person.We will train her. Maybe she'll have some fun and make some friends. : ) Please have her contact SNAP at 510-527-0446 x3 or snapkids at earthlink.net Dori
The LifeLong Clinic website: http://www.tlc-volunteers.org
I am the coordinator of a clinic here in Berkeley called The LifeLong Clinic (TLC). The clinic is just a few blocks from Berkeley High. I have had very wonderful student volunteers from Berkeley High who have had extremely responsible positions and have really helped with the success of the clinic....
(click on the LifeLong Clinic name above for the rest of this message)
Both Kaiser (596-6181) and Alta Bates Hospital (204-1695) accept teen volunteers. (from the May/June 1999 BHS PTSA Newsletter)
My friend's daughter volunteer at Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley. This was several years ago so don't know too much about the current program.
Children's Hospital Children's Hospital in Oakland has volunteers. Some work the parent desk (parents waiting for their children coming out of surgery), game room (playing with students - painting, board games, etc.), and I think also in the clinics. Children's Main number is 428-3000.
My son volunteered last summer at Children's Hospital and found it personally valuable, quite challenging and a lot of fun. For example, he was asked to rock a crying baby to sleep and it took 30 minutes. (he had never spent that long with any infant.) He read to kids while they got their chemo, played checkers, chatted with kids in the playrroms, pulled someone around the entire hospital in a wagon for 2 hours. He also watched staff handle some emergencies, which he found really fascinating. There's an 8 hour minimum commitment during the summer and I think smaller commitments can be made during the school year, though I'm not sure what that is. If this is the kind of thing she's looking for, I suggest your daughter contact Barbara Schaaf the volunteer coordinator at (510) 428-3471 Winifred (1/01)
Berkeley Public Library Programs
Cover to Cover, a teen reading and reviewing program now in its 9th year. Read for prizes, enter weekly contests, and get published. Program runs June 14 to August 14 at all library sites. Call 649-3926 for more information. Tutor at Literacy Daycamp, now in its 3rd year. Teen tutors must apply as library volunteers by May 15, attend two trainings and be available for the daycamp that runs from June 14 to July 21. Teen volunteer forms may be picked up at any library. (see also: jobs at the Library) (from the May/June 1999 BHS PTSA Newsletter)
The Rockridge Library on College is a good place to volunteer...working with the younger students.
I recently became aware of a web site called volunteermatch.org. Its purpose is to match volunteers with volunteer opportunities based on your geographic location. You type in your zip code and choose the type of volunteer work that interests you (Animals, Children, Women, etc.) and it will show you the opportunities available. You can also register your group if you are in need of volunteers. This site has won two 2001 Webby Awards for Best Activism Site and Best Services Site. Most of the links that you will see may not be appropriate for a teenager, but some will. Good luck! Janet (Oct 2001)
Berkeley Community Gardening Collaborative
serves as an information clearinghouse and teen training ground. Call Beebo Turman at 883-9096 for details. (May/June 1999 BHS PTSA Newsletter)
American Cancer Society
seeks high school students to teach/learn nutrition to children & parents at Berkeley HEAD START. CALL: 558-7089 (BHS Jacket, 3/00)
Loaves and Fishes
Your 15 year old (or anyone high school age or older) might want to contact the volunteer coordinators, Mary Greene (649-8772 or Robbie Kreitz (522-2706), at Loaves & Fishes regarding volunteering at dinners or shelter hospitality nights for the homeless. This program is sponsored by Newman Hall. Some of the events are held at the shelters and some are at Newman (Dwight and Ashby). It's a fun evening with people who genuinely appreciate the commitment of time and caring. Trish (9/99)
Family Resource Network
The Family Resource Network on Claremont Avenue in Berkeley has activities for disabled teen students once a month. For example: This Friday, Jan. 19th starting at 6 p.m. til 9 p.m.there is Casino Night and next February there is Valentine Dance. There are other nondisabled teens helping with the event. They may need help in other areas. Great group of people!