15 Summer Volunteer Opportunities for Teens

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Claudia Alcarra
Photo Credit: Fraser Health

Summer is the perfect time for volunteering as more students are free, and there are plenty of opportunities available that serve everyone’s interests. Are you passionate about sustainable fashion? Helping refugees? What about taking care of animals? There’s definitely a nonprofit you could join to help any of these causes- and more! Volunteering also allows you to use your skills for a meaningful purpose. You can teach your skills to others or use them to support nonprofits locally and all over the world.

Volunteering during summer is a wonderful way to create new memories, build friendships with amazing people who share your interests, and most importantly, give back to your community! Volunteering can also help you broaden your perspectives and improve your ability to connect with others who may have different backgrounds from yours. The greatest part is that you don’t need to travel crazy distances. You can volunteer at local nonprofits, or even do it remotely — which allows you to travel in the meantime.

Where do I start?

Start by asking yourself, “What am I passionate about”? If you don’t already have something in mind, you can research pressing issues, look at the news and see where help is needed, or check out the Sustainable Development Goals to identify which one you are passionate about. Then identify your skills — languages, coding, organizing, strength in school subjects, etc — and think about how you’d like to use them. Volunteering opportunities can be tailored to your skills and interests! If you want to take this process to the next level, our ámaxa student impact program is centered around this idea of “repurposing your passions” for good. With us, we not only help you find how to use your passions for good, but we also match you with a team of global students and an expert mentor to complete a long-term high impact project. Learn more here!

Plan your summer!

There’s so much you probably want to do during summer but as usual, time is limited thus planning is essential. Once you have found a cause you’re passionate about, you can start looking into programs. Start planning around what you already have planned. If you’d be spending a lot of time in another city, you can look into opportunities in that city. Or if you’re not sure what your plans are, then remote opportunities would be great. The next step is to ask yourself how much time you’d like to dedicate to volunteering. Remember- volunteering can be quite flexible!

Finding your perfect match

After you have an idea of what you want to do, it is just a matter of doing research to find organizations you’d like to volunteer for. You can start by doing a simple Google search or asking your parents, teachers, siblings, or friends for recommendations.

To get you started, here’s a list of 15 amazing volunteering opportunities to make the best out of your summer. Spoiler alert: most opportunities listed here are free or remote!

1. Translators Without Borders

If you speak a second language, Translators without Borders is the perfect opportunity for you! TWB links translators with over 150 organizations worldwide to close the language gap hindering humanitarian and development efforts. They ensure beneficiaries get information about health, education, and protection in the appropriate language. Translators are also trained to deliver information and aid programs in some communities.

You can apply to be a translator or volunteer for other roles like project manager, graphic or web page designer, fundraising organizer, and much more!

2. Teach by Tech

Teach by Tech makes financial literacy, entrepreneurial skills, and workforce training accessible to girls and women in Colorado and other parts of the world through technology. You can volunteer with Teach by Tech to translate their content or help build their offline digital library if you’re passionate about tech and coding!

Teach by Tech is also one of ámaxa’s partner nonprofits! That means you can form a team with friends or other ámaxa students to deploy an offline digital library in a refugee camp around the globe. When you apply to our program, make sure to select Teach by Tech in your application!

3. Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is a unique opportunity for those of us who love reading and literature! Project Gutenberg is a free online library with over 60,000 books. These books are transcribed from physical books.

Students can volunteer as Distributed Proofreaders where they can help by proofreading, managing transcription projects, providing content, or improving the project website! Moreover, as a DP you have access to community forums where you can propose books you’d like to share. This is a very flexible program, you can spend as much or little time as you want!

4. Autism Career Pathways

Autism Career Pathways strives to increase employment opportunities for people with differing abilities. While they are based in California, students from all around the world can identify small businesses in their community and advocate for them to employ autistic and neurodivergent individuals through ACP's Better Community Certified Program.

Autism Career Pathways is one of ámaxa's new partner nonprofits, so you can apply to our ámaxa student impact program today to be matched with an expert mentor and team of students from around the globe who can all work together to make a tangible impact for ACP together!

5. Meaningful Teens

Meaningful provides bilingual tutoring to low-income students and immigrant seniors. They invite high school students to volunteer for any of their projects that include: virtual and in-person tutoring and helping young Ukrainian and Chinese students practice their English. Most projects are online, but there are also some in-person! Just sign up here and start helping!

6. Feeding America

Feeding America is one of the largest networks of food banks in the US. They provide meals to children, seniors, families, and survivors of natural disasters. One way to support is to organize a food drive which can be done by contacting your local food bank. Or, you can make a virtual food drive which allows you to collect funds for your local food bank online!

7. The Humane Society

The HSUS helps thousands of animals every year by taking care of them and rescuing them from factory farms, animal testing labs, and puppy mills. They also advocate for animal rights and protection.

Students can volunteer as HSUS as Humane Policy Leaders or Allies by advocating for policies that protect animals or taking care of animals and walking them. You can also search for opportunities in your state to help HSUS branches in outreach, engagement, or even marketing. New positions are posted often, so keep an eye out!

8. Mental Health First Aid

Through a partnership with mental health advocate and author Ben West (check him out on Instagram at @iambestwest), students who apply with the ámaxa student impact program can launch Mental Health First Aid programs at your high school to take steps to prevent teen suicide.

While there are many ways to approach preventing suicide, Ben West has devoted years of research and advocacy to this cause and believes that implementing mental health first aid courses for teachers and students in high schools is the most effective way. Make a real impact for your peers and apply to solve this problem today!

9. Black Girls Code

BGC provides education on robotics, game design, AI, app design, 3D printing, blockchain, UX design, and VR to black girls and young women. They have partnered with companies like Google, Verizon, Macy's, IBM, and TikTok to help connect their students with opportunities.

To volunteer with BGC, just fill out the application form or find an event near you to volunteer at. If you have coding experience, you can become a mentor or assistant, and if you’re passionate about photography or social media, you can assist them with marketing.

10. Las Americas

Las Americas is based in El Paso, Texas, and provides free and low-cost high-quality legal services to immigrants and refugees. Volunteer roles include translations (Spanish), administrative duties, communications and marketing, and research. To apply just fill out the volunteer application form!

All roles are currently remote. Based on volunteer testimonies, working with Las Americas is a very humbling and fulfilling experience where you’ll learn a lot! As a Latina myself, I can testify that working with organizations like Las Americas can be a great experience to connect with your heritage and understand your history!

11. Kidsave

Kidsave advocates on behalf of older foster kids by helping them find adoptive families, foster families, and mentors through their Summer/Winter Miracles or Weekend Miracles Program. Kidsave High School volunteers get involved by holding fundraisers,  spreading the word on social media, and doing research & outreach. Check out their page to find out all the volunteer opportunities!

12. Jed Foundation

JED is a nonprofit focused on preventing suicide among teenagers and young adults. They provide a great comprehensive package of mental health support and resources to manage emotional challenges, they also help direct individuals to the specialized help they may need.

JED volunteers help lead programs, spread awareness and organize different events. If you are passionate about mental health, signing up for JED is a great opportunity to learn while helping others!

13. Student Conservation Association

If you are passionate about conservation or just love the outdoors, join an SCA Crew! You can join the community, regional, or national crews where you can learn a lot about how parks are maintained and improved. Moreover, you’ll learn about the environment in your area and the conservation of critical habitats firsthand! Take a look at their website to check their application process!

To volunteer with BGC, just fill out the application form or find an event near you to volunteer at. If you have coding experience, you can become a mentor or assistant, and if you’re passionate about photography or social media, you can assist them with marketing.

14. Volunteer at a hospital (or build an amulance in Ghana!)

If you are thinking of becoming a doctor, volunteering at a local hospital is a great way to explore this. Many hospitals have volunteering programs for high school students. A great one is the UCLA Health Volunteen Summer Program and the Texas Health Resources Junior Volunteers program, which allow you to learn about how hospitals function and the work of doctors while supporting them with duties and administrative tasks. Like these ones, many hospitals have programs for high school students; just reach out to your local hospital and ask!

If you want to make an impact in the health sector but not at a hospital, check out ámaxa's partner nonprofit Moving Health! Through our student impact program, you can raise funds to build a low-cost ambulance to transport mothers in labor to the hospital in rural Ghana- meaning they don't have to walk to the hospital (or not make it to one at all) while they're in labor! The impact of this? Mothers and their babies have a greatly reduced risk of mortality during birth because they give birth at a hospital!

15. The ámaxa student impact program

Last but not least… Solve real problems remotely by working with nonprofits through ámaxa. Select a problem in our platform, and we’ll match you with a team (with students from around the world!) and an expert mentor who will help you make a tangible impact!

If you are passionate about education, gender equality, climate change, refugees, health, disability inclusion, or more - we can match you to a real problem to solve with one of our partner NGOs. Apply now!

Hope this list got you even more excited about summer! There are so many accessible opportunities out there for you to make an impact.

Still not sure what to do? Then reach out to us, and we’ll clear out your doubts to help you start solving real problems at global nonprofits!

Claudia Alcarra

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