Filed under: Children

Best Volunteer Opportunities for Youth

Leave a Comment August 1, 2013

The lazy summer days are slipping away and it’s almost time to head back to school!  This school year, why not look into volunteerism as a new after school activity?  Getting involved with volunteering at a young age encourages an compassionate and kind outlook on life, strengthens your work ethic, and can provide valuable work experience.

Whether you’re a parent and you want to teach your children what it means to give back to the community, or you’re a high school student looking for meaningful ways to fulfill your service hour requirements, follow our tips to find the best volunteer opportunities for youth.

1. Look for organizations that specifically recruit children and teenagers as volunteers.

Great examples of these organizations include:

Pebble Tossers matches kids and teens up with volunteer opportunities and provides information on the number of hours, age requirements, and descriptions of different projects.  Browse their list to find a service project that most appeals to you.

Youthlinc empowers youth to volunteer locally and be mentored to lead international service projects in impoverished villages in Kenya, Mexico, Peru, and Thailand.

Youth Making a Difference involves teens in Leadership Service projects that travel on humanitarian expeditions to India.

2. Check out your local soup kitchens and homeless shelters.

Many soup kitchens, pantries, and shelters take on students to volunteer for a weekend or on a regular basis and often give service hours in exchange.  Contact your local organizations and ask if you can lend a hand.

3. Help out at senior centers and hospitals.

Local senior centers are often looking for young volunteers to help teach computer literacy classes, work in the kitchens or offices, or just be there to talk to the seniors and get to know them as you keep them company.  Some hospitals also recruit high school volunteers to organize children’s play activities in the waiting areas, act as hospital greeters, and staff the gift shop or assist in administrative duties.

4. Join a club!

Many international service organizations such as Rotary, Kiwanis, and Lions Clubs offer middle school and high school branches.  Join your school’s Interact, Key Club, or Leo Club to find out about locally organized volunteer opportunities and to bond with other service-minded students.  Some middle and high schools also partner with local elementary schools to provide volunteer tutoring services.  Or look for service clubs outside of school, such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Had a great volunteer experience and want to share your story?  Want to search for more youth volunteer opportunities?  Check out our website for more ways to get involved with the youth volunteer community! 

Summer is Here, Thinking About Volunteer Travel?

Comments (2) June 17, 2013

With summer here, we know a lot of you want to learn more about traveling for good! There are many different ways to help out abroad with a small amount of free time over the summer and different nonprofits offer different opportunities. The Top-Rated groups below offer various chances to travel while volunteering. Take a look, and see if one of these nonprofits is a good fit for you.

And if you are scheduled to do some traveling with a nonprofit already, share your story when you get back by writing a review! Your review will help others decide if volunteering abroad is a good fit for them.

2013 Top-Rated Nonprofits Offering Travel Opportunities

Mayan Families

Countries/Regions Served: Guatemala

Mayan Families provides opportunities and assistance to the indigenous and impoverished people of Guatemala, through education and community development programs.

“My only regret is that I could not have spent longer in Panajachel with Mayan Families. While there, I was a part of their medical and dental clinics for many different villages, and I also came home with a beautiful puppy that they had rescued through their animal welfare program.”

A Broader View

Countries/Regions Served: Belize, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Ghana, Uganda, Cameroon, Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, South Africa, Nepal, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippines

A Broader View Volunteer Corp. was created on the belief that one person can make a difference in the lives of others. The US office is operated by a staff with almost 20 years combined travel and hospitality experience.

“Many of the “volunteer” programs we looked at for our daughter were cost prohibitive and had many time constraints. ABV made it possible for her to experience a different culture and, at the same time, volunteer in ways that she never would have otherwise.”

Global Volunteer Network Foundation

Countries/Regions Served: Africa, Asia, Latin America

Global Volunteer Network Foundation works to empower women and children by providing financial resources to grassroots organizations working with vulnerable women and children in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

“Climbing to Everest Base Camp is something I’ll treasure for the rest of my life and I can’t imagine better people to have done it with. I will be doing more programs with GVN in the future and highly recommend it for anyone who wants to step outside their comfort zone and try something new.”

2012 Top-Rated Nonprofits Offering Travel Opportunities

Child Family Health International

Countries/Regions Served: Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, India, Mexico, South Africa

Working at 20 different sites in six countries, Child Family Health International partners with universities and medical professionals. The organization aims to help students  explore what health care and public health provision is like in developing countries. CFHI also creates social entrepreneur opportunities for local communities that are able to host and teach students from afar about local culture, realities, illness and wellness.

“It was one of the best rotations of my medical school career. Getting the opportunity to perform a number of procedures while also seeing what healthcare challenges another culture faced allowed me to develop tremendously as a doctor and person in the beginning stages of my career.”

YouthLINC

 

Countries/Regions Served: Kenya, Mexico, Peru, Thailand

YouthLINC works to create life-long humanitarians. Rotary clubs, universities and colleges, businesses, professional associations, and individuals who want to encourage service among young people provide sponsorships to students.

“ I felt like the trip had a perfect blend of service and site seeing. I felt like I had a cultural experience along with a wonderful service experience.”

Want to help YouthLINC and Child Family Health International become Top-Rated again for 2013? Write a review of their work!

 

10 Fun Ways to Celebrate Earth Month With Your Kids

Comments (11) April 5, 2013

It’s Earth Month, and we have some great ways to get kids involved! Earth Month is the perfect time to get kids into appreciating the natural world and taking care of their planet. Here are some ways to celebrate!

1. Take a hike, and clean up!

Get outside and get moving–hikes are an easy way to show kids the wonders of their own backyard and with spring here, you might get to take in blooming flowers and wildlife. Many local nonprofits hold programs in parks and natural areas. Local nonprofits are also responsible for stepping up and helping out state parks during budget cuts. Find a local environmental nonprofit near you.

If you live near a beach, river or lake, chances are, a local nonprofit needs your help for its next cleanup! Many organizations ramp up their cleanup efforts for April. Don’t live near water? You can still pitch in to clean up in your own backyard at your local park, school or playground!

2. Visit an Animal Rehab Center

Get access to some amazing wildlife while learning about how humans affect wild animals and their habitats near you. Visit a raptor center, like Cascades and witness eagles and owls up close. Live near the water? Find a marine mammal center, like the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, CA,  to see how trash can entangle sea creatures, and how to help.

3. Go to a Car Wash

What kid doesn’t love being inside the car as it goes through a car wash? Why is it good for the environment? Car washes recycle their water, so much less water is used than when you run your hose at home to wash. And while your working on the car, check your tires, under-inflated tires can negatively affect your MPG, making your car less fuel efficient.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Start a Garden or Visit a Farm

Gardening is a fun, hands-on way to teach kids about the Earth and about healthy food. Grow your own veggies, or create a garden full of flowers to attract hummingbirds and butterflies! If your kids are into critters, start a compost bin and be sure to add lots of worms! Many nonprofits hold programs to educate urban farmers, like the Seattle Tilth Association. You could visit your local community garden for more inspiration. Many working farms give tours geared toward kids that show the effort and care that goes into growing healthy, local and fresh food while kids can engage with the farmers and animals.

5. Feed the Birds

Make your yard or balcony a haven for hungry wild birds. Set up a bird feeder and keep track of your visitors. There are many local Audubon Societies that give local birding walks as well and can help you identify the birds at your feeder. Take a walk around your neighborhood one morning and try to see how many birds you can identify. Believe it or not, the local dump is actually a favored birding spot as well. Some dumps and recycling centers offer tours. (Also a great place for kids to see how waste adds up.)

6. Recycle Your Clothes and Toys

Now is a great time to do some spring cleaning. If you end up with a mountain of clothes that no longer fit your kids, or toys that they have outgrown, consider donating them to those in need. It’s easy to have kids help out. Gather all of your donations in a recycling bin and head to your local Goodwill together. Many local groups also accept clothing and toy donations for those in need.

7. Ride a Bike

Instead of driving to run errands, try riding bikes together to local shops. You’ll save gas, get exercise and help the environment. Many bicycle nonprofits advocate for bikers’ rights and/or offer safety courses for riders, like The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

8. Read a Book–or Write One!

Take a trip to your local library and check out some books about your local flora and fauna. (After all, the library puts ‘reduce reuse recycle’ into action every day!) Have a writing session with your kids and create some art about the Earth. Nonprofits like River of Words in Berkeley, CA work to foster both literacy and environmental stewardship through poetry.

9. Go to a Farmers’ Market

Get some tasty local fruits and veggies at your farmers’ market. Most markets will let kids sample lots of different foods. Talk with the farmers and ask about how they grow their produce. Bring your reusable bags and ask for recipes too! Then have the kids help out with preparing a meal with the fruits and veggies you buy.

10. Make a Reusable Bag

Don’t have bags for the market? Use an old t-shirt and make a reusable bag! Kids can have fun decorating it.

Know of a great environmental nonprofit doing work near you? Write a review and let other folks know about it!

 

 

 

Newtown School Shootings at Sandy Hook – Can Nonprofits Help Prevent Such Tragedies?

Comments (12) December 18, 2012

The Newtown School Shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut were a painful reminder that we have a horrible recurring problem of mass shootings in this country. At schools alone, we have a string of recent events, with this CT shooting bringing back memories of the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 and Columbine High School shooting in 1999. State and Federal gun control laws certainly can have a role in helping prevent such massacres, and President Obama calls for “meaningful action,” but passing new gun control laws will be time-consuming. And many groups, like the NRA are opposed to new gun control laws. Can nonprofits be a meaningful near-term solution to help prevent such shootings in the future?

Gun buy backs can get a lot of guns off the street. ©Antonio Villaraigosa on flickr

City gun buyback ©Antonio Villaraigosa on flickr

While we do not yet know the full details of how the killer acquired his guns, studies show that a “large source of guns used in crimes are unlicensed street dealers” and those dealers do not do background checks that would reveal prior records or mental health concerns. Thus, nonprofits raise money and perform gun buybacks to get guns that might otherwise be sold at gun shows or at flea markets off the street. Just one day after the tragedy, …Continue reading Newtown, School Shootings — Can Nonprofits Help Prevent Shootings?

Huffington Post Highlights Top-Rated Charities Helping Kids

Comments (4) November 19, 2012

Earlier this month The Huffington Post highlighted some of the nonprofits that have already qualified for our 2012 Top-Rated List.  The HuffPo slideshow focused on charities dedicated to providing support and education for children and families. The nonprofits featured were:

Congrats to these outstanding small charities! These nonprofits are located all around the country and are providing aid and opportunities for children in need. Some are dedicated to educating low-income children by providing the resources necessary to succeed academically. Others provide support and treatment to children facing severe medical conditions.

Check out The Huffington Post article hereand stay tuned for more featured winners of the Top-Rated Awards.

Are you a nonprofit? There’s still time to win a spot on the 2012 Top-Rated List!

What Your Kids Get Out of Giving Back

Comments (3) October 3, 2012

The concepts of sharing time and giving to those in need are a part of the learning curve in a child’s life, but why are these ideas so important for kids to learn?

In his book, Giving back: A guide to Volunteering and Donation for Families and Individuals, Stephen P. Ketchpel tells us:

  • Giving back empowers a child, making them more independent.
  • Volunteering as a family, together as a group, leads to stronger family ties.
  • And, the earlier a child participates in this experience, the more he/she enjoys and makes it a part of his/her whole life.

(more…)

Top 5 Volunteer Opportunities in Austin

Leave a Comment September 17, 2012

Want to volunteer or intern at a great Austin non-profit? Whether you’re new to Austin and want to learn about the city’s charities, trying to change up your routine with some local charity work, or just want to volunteer or intern at a neighborhood non-profit, everyone knows that the best way to find the right place for you is from the people who’ve been there!

Here’s a list of volunteers’ and interns’ favorite Austin charities. Every non-profit on this list earned has an overall score of 4 or greater out of 5 on GreatNonprofits.org, and must have been reviewed by at least 10 volunteers. If your favorite Austin non-profit or volunteer gig is missing, find it on GreatNonprofits.org, write a positive review, and show your co-volunteers how to start adding reviews and get it on the list! (more…)

Top 5 Volunteer Opportunities in Dallas

Comments (9) September 12, 2012

Want to volunteer or intern at a great Dallas non-profit? Whether you’re new to Dallas and want to learn about the city’s charities, trying to change up your routine with some local charity work, or just want to volunteer or intern at a neighborhood non-profit, everyone knows that the best way to find the right place for you is from the people who’ve been there!

Here’s a list of volunteers’ and interns’ favorite Dallas charities. Every non-profit on this list earned has an overall score of 4 or greater out of 5 on GreatNonprofits.org, and must have been reviewed by at least 10 volunteers. If your favorite Dallas non-profit or volunteer gig is missing, find it on GreatNonprofits.org, write a positive review, and show your co-volunteers how to start adding reviews and get it on the list! (more…)

Top 5 Volunteer Opportunities in Pittsburgh

Leave a Comment September 12, 2012

Want to volunteer or intern at a great Pittsburgh non-profit? Whether you’re new to Pittsburgh and want to learn about the city’s charities, trying to change up your routine with some local charity work, or just want to volunteer or intern at a neighborhood non-profit, everyone knows that the best way to find the right place for you is from the people who’ve been there!

Here’s a list of volunteers’ and interns’ favorite Pittsburgh charities. Every non-profit on this list earned has an overall score of 4 or greater out of 5 on GreatNonprofits.org, and must have been reviewed by at least 10 volunteers. If your favorite Pittsburgh non-profit or volunteer gig is missing, find it on GreatNonprofits.org, write a positive review, and show your co-volunteers how to start adding reviews and get it on the list! (more…)

Top 10 Volunteer Opportunities in Atlanta

Comments (5) September 5, 2012

Want to volunteer or intern at a great Atlanta non-profit? Whether you’re new to Atlanta and want to learn about the city’s charities, trying to change up your routine with some local charity work, or just want to volunteer or intern at a neighborhood non-profit, everyone knows that the best way to find the right place for you is from the people who’ve been there!

Here’s a list of volunteers’ and interns’ favorite Atlanta charities. Every non-profit on this list earned has an overall score of 4 or greater out of 5 on GreatNonprofits.org, and must have been reviewed by at least 10 volunteers. If your favorite Atlanta non-profit or volunteer gig is missing, find it on GreatNonprofits.org, write a positive review, and show your co-volunteers how to start adding reviews and get it on the list! (more…)

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