Volunteer Service Hour Ideas for Teens and Families

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Looking for service hours for teens? So you have a child in high school and it’s time to start thinking about volunteer hours. While most public schools do not require volunteer hours, most private and charter schools do have a quarterly requirement. Whether your child attends public school, private school, or is homeschooled, volunteering looks very good on college and job applications, demonstrating a well-rounded and outward-looking individual. Ultimately though, we volunteer because there are people who need us, and it’s a wonderful way to give back when we have been given so much.

Be sure your teen keeps a notebook dedicated just about volunteering. Make sure to document hours and even have supervisors sign off on their hours.  I have looked into local opportunities and have put these ideas together for you. If you have anything to add, please let us know and we’ll incorporate it into our list!

More volunteer opportunities in the Upstate can be found in the Kidding Around Guide To Volunteer Opportunities

Y on the Fly Food Program

Tips for Volunteering in Greenville

Check Hands On Greenville.

For volunteering events and opportunities,The United Way offers a wonderful search engine that showcases local volunteer opportunities and non-profits.  Their site lists everything from calling BINGO at a nursing home to being a foster family for animals through a local animal rescue.

Ask others for advice.

Find out where other families and teens volunteer and ask why they like it. You or your child may be limited by the age requirements of some opportunities. The best way I’ve found to provide opportunities for younger children to volunteer is to volunteer as a family. Younger children are often welcomed as long as there is a parent there to supervise. You can also check our list of Volunteer Opportunities for Young Children for ideas.

My family’s favorite local places to volunteer

Several of these places provide perfect opportunities for homeschoolers or for families during the school breaks.

Meals on Wheels 
We have loved delivering food for Meals on Wheels as a family. Chatting with the clients is a favorite for my children. The great thing about this opportunity is that as long as there is an adult to drive the car, there is no age requirement for the people the driver takes along.

Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity also provides opportunities to help and it doesn’t have to just be building houses. Our family served lunch at a work site once. It only took us a total of about 3 hours and it was a fun short term way to help out.

Y on the Fly
Kids ages 8-12 can volunteer at Y on the Fly Food Program stuffing food into bags which will be distributed to local families in needs. Kids 13+ can volunteer without a parent. Volunteers just show up on Thursdays mornings at 9:30 am at St. Matthews UMC (701 Cleveland Street, Greenville) in Greenville and usually stay until around 11 am.

The Ronald McDonald House
The Ronald Mcdonald House is close to my heart because they helped out my family when my sister’s babies were born at 26 weeks.  They provide beds, meals and so much more to families of children at the hospital. If this opportunity appeals to you, check out their website and you can find ways to donate items and help serve. One great way to help out is to be their chef for the night. They serve a hot meal to their clients every evening and this is done by volunteers.

Details for the above volunteer options can be found in the Kidding Around Guide To Volunteer Opportunities

Harvest Food Bank 
Another place we’ve enjoyed helping out in the past is Harvest Hope Food Bank. Here they have several different options to help out from sorting food in the warehouse to manning fundraisers at events. The age requirement here is at least 11.

Even more ways for teens to help our community

Other ideas for service hours

Don’t forget to look for opportunities in everyday life. If your children are part of an organization like Boy Scouts, Civil Air Patrol, Girls Scouts, American Heritage Girls, Beta Club, these organizations often schedule regular volunteer dates. Anywhere you give a service and are not paid, consider that “service hours”.

Here are some examples of service hours you may already be doing.

  • Church work day
  • Theater productions (handing out programs, ushering, stage crew)
  • Visiting nursing homes and singing or talking with the residents
  • Church nursery
  • Mowing lawns for a family that cannot
  • Visiting homebound neighbors and helping with household duties
Tina Mackey
About the Author
Tina Mackey is a SAHM to three boys and a little girl (who thinks she’s the fourth boy). She enjoys staying busy keeping her children in extracurricular activities and exploring new things in Greenville. A diet of homemade, whole foods is a priority for her and she’s constantly in search of the next best healthy recipe.

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