Volunteer Opportunities for Teens
Advice, discussions, and reviews from the
Parents of Teens weekly email newsletter.
Berkeley Parents Network >
Teens, Preteens, & Young Adults >
Volunteer Opportunities for Teens
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
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
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.
The YMCA PG&E 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
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 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-232-4264
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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!
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
Try the following websites:
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!
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
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 (email@example.com or
510-347-4620) to schedule a visit and sign up for holiday
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 “yes” response even for
''expunged'' suspensions—in 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—even though
juvenile court records are sealed—we 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—we want the student to disclose.''
Just thought you should be aware of this, if this an issue that you are trying
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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!
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!
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
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
Hospitals & Clinics
The LifeLong Clinic
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 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
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.
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!
this page was last updated: Nov 3, 2013
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2013 Berkeley Parents Network