Tips for Tweens on Volunteering

Volunteering will teach your tween a lot

Any volunteer opportunity will teach your tween about empathy and giving back.
Your local animal shelter may put your tween to work as a volunteer. Photo: Jamie Woods, freeimages.com

Raising children who are civically minded isn’t easy, especially in a culture that seems to reward materialism. But you can expose your child to volunteerism and encourage your preteen to give back in a number of ways. When kids volunteer, good things happen. By volunteering or by helping others, your child learns valuable life skills, but he or she also learns how important it is to support organizations he or she cares about, and causes that interest him or her.

There are many ways your child can make a difference. Start with projects that he or she can incorporate into a preteen’s busy schedule, and then add bigger projects that require more time. You might also want to consider volunteering together. That way you can spend quality time together, and set a great example for your preteen.

Below are a few ideas for kids volunteer opportunities or community projects. Some your child can tackle at home, others are for school, your neighborhood, or the community. When considering volunteer jobs, think about the time commitment required, and your family's schedule, your tween's homework load, and other daily demands. Have fun picking your projects and know that your child is learning a lot about helping others and making a difference.

Kids, Volunteer Opportunities and Tips

Below are just a few suggestions for volunteer jobs that your tween might enjoy.

Volunteer Ideas for Home

  • Play with younger siblings when they are bored
  • Volunteer to make a parent or a sibling lunch for work or school
  • Help a parent finish a chore, such as snow shoveling or raking leaves
  • Make cookies or brownies for a sick relative
  • Turn the backyard into a sanctuary for birds, butterflies and other wildlife
  • Feed, groom and care for the family pet
  • Write a letter to an elderly relative or get a group of kids together to make cards to deliver to a local nursing home
  • Be responsible for cleaning up a bedroom, playroom or a family common area
  • Do things without being asked, such as hanging up your jacket or changing the cat’s litter box

Kids, Volunteer Opportunities and School

Before your child tackles a project for his or her school, be sure to have your tween ask teachers or the school principal for permission, advice and suggestions.

  • Help teachers set up their classrooms at the beginning of the year
  • Help teachers pack up their classrooms at the end of the year
  • Be a patrol guard at a bus stop or on the school bus
  • Help the school librarian shelve books or assist students when checking books in and out
  • Make safety posters to display around the school
  • Organize a school supply drive for students who cannot afford to buy their own
  • Tutor younger children when they need it
  • Bring assignments to friends or classmates who have missed school due to illness or a family emergency

    Volunteering at Church

    • Watch younger children during the church service
    • Assist adult volunteers at a vacation bible school
    • Create and decorate a bulletin board display
    • Send welcome cards to new church members
    • Organize a supply drive for the Sunday school teachers
    • Bake cookies for the church staff
    • Help maintain the church gardens

    Volunteering in the Community

    • Organize a food and toy drive for the local animal shelter
    • Help stock the local food pantry
    • Volunteer to help a younger neighbor with homework
    • Make Valentine cards for the residents of a retirement home
    • Participate in a local clean-up day
    • Make brownies for new neighbors
    • Join a local service organization
    • Ask for donations to a local homeless shelter rather than gifts at your next birthday party
    • Donate proceeds from a lemonade stand to a charity of your choice
    • Purchase gifts for a needy family during the holiday season

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