There’s no doubt about it: Volunteering matters. The social and emotional learning skills that come with volunteering are essential to kids’ development and lifelong success. Plus, giving back to our community promotes civic engagement and leadership. That’s why many states require volunteer hours for high school students. It’s even better to start early; young children learn kindness along with responsibility when they volunteer with their families.

Finding opportunities for volunteering with children and teens isn’t as difficult as you might think. You can explore these ideas for elementary, middle, and high schoolers  and share them with your students and their families! The list below showcases national organizations and then a list by state. 

Volunteering Opportunities With National Organizations

Throughout the United States, these organizations welcome families volunteering with children and teens.

Arbor Day Foundation

The Tree Campus K–12 program inspires the next generation of tree stewards through experiences that bring the benefits of trees to life both inside and outside the classroom. 

Books for Africa

Get involved with the mission to end the African book famine by volunteering at one of our warehouses. Volunteers must be at least 14 years old.

DoSomething.org

This “youth-led movement for good” gives teens the opportunity to make an impact, win scholarships, and earn volunteer credits.

Feeding America

Feeding America workers

Find a local meal program that needs help or work to raise awareness of food insecurity.

Foodpantries.org

Locate a food pantry, soup kitchen, or meal program looking for volunteers. (Note: some of them require you to verify the age requirements for volunteers.)

Girls on the Run

Join Girls on the Run and be part of a movement that is empowering and inspiring girls physically and mentally. Some opportunities require volunteers to be at least 18 years old.

Global Volunteers

Travel overseas to help those in need. Parents and legal guardians of minors under age 18 must complete a Minor Registration and travel with their children. 

Guide Dogs for the Blind

Two girls with guide dog puppy

Train or foster guide dogs or help with administrative tasks. Puppy raisers can be any age, whether you’re 9 or 90. No prior experience is necessary!

Habitat For Humanity

The Habitat Youth Programs instill a love of volunteering from an early age by providing a variety of volunteer opportunities for those ages five to 40.

International SEL Day

The Urban Assembly and SEL4US invite communities across the globe to celebrate the importance of social emotional learning (SEL) on the second annual International SEL Day on March 26, 2021. This year’s theme is Building Bonds, Reimagining Community.

Literacy Network (Reading is Fundamental)

Host a book drive, advocate for literacy, or be a reading mentor.

MLK Day of Service

Kick-off a Semester of Service that begins on MLK Day in January and continues through Global Youth Service Day in April.

National Park Service

Two people in a river

Help with park maintenance or work with visitors to make their experience a great one.

National Volunteer Week

Celebrate the impact of volunteer service in our communities.

Operation Gratitude

Write letters or assemble care packages for troops overseas.

Project Linus

Kids with blankets care of Project Linus

Make security blankets for children in hospitals.

Red Cross

Help with a variety of activities, such as organizing a blood drive or assisting with disaster relief. Volunteers must be 18 or older or have permission from a parent or guardian

Ronald McDonald House

Volunteers make a difference in the lives of the children and families served by the Ronald McDonald House by cooking, greeting, listening, cleaning, or simply being there and helping out in any way they can. Age requirements may vary by location.

Special Olympics

Volunteers of all ages can get involved in the global movement to create a new world of inclusion and community, where every single person is accepted and welcomed, regardless of ability or disability.

USTA (United States Tennis Organization)

USTA volunteer

Help local and national tennis tournaments run smoothly. Community Tennis Associations and the National Junior Tennis & Learning network are great places to start, as is the USTA Junior Team Tennis program.

Volunteering Journeys

High school students under the age of 18 make up some of Volunteering Journeys’ most passionate and engaging volunteers.

WE Volunteer Now

WE Volunteers

Teens can work together to do good, take action, and make a difference in their community.

Youth Volunteer Corps

Teens between the ages of 11 and 18 can become a YVC youth volunteer. 

Volunteering Opportunities by State 

Every local community has plenty of opportunities for children and teens to volunteer. VolunteerMatch is an excellent site for finding local organizations that need help. Many states even have their own volunteer resource pages, too. If available, we provided those links below. We’ve also highlighted a volunteer organization in each state. It’s time to get out and make a difference!

Alabama

Middle school and high school students looking to fulfill community service hours can help organize donations for Free2Teach‘s shop full of free items to help teachers in Madison County.

Alaska

Commerce Alaska 

The Alaska Youth for Environmental Action (AYEA) program provides leadership skills training and supports youth-led community action projects and campaigns. 

Arizona

Teens age 16 and over can volunteer directly at the Lost Our Home Pet Rescue shelter, or from the comfort of their own home or school! Kids ages 7-15 who are accompanied by their parent can also volunteer. 

Arkansas

Teens ages 14 and up can make a difference at Arkansas’s Children’s Hospital in Little Rock. 

California

Teens who are 18 and over can volunteer to tutor homeless students in Southern California’s School on Wheels program.

Colorado

Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado

Families and teens are welcome at Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado. The Cairn Youth Program, featuring monthly activities for high schoolers throughout the school year, allows kids to enjoy the great outdoors while helping to protect it.

Connecticut

The Hospital of Central Connecticut’s Teen Volunteer Program connects high school students with opportunities to provide invaluable assistance to many hospital departments and gain experience in healthcare. 

Delaware

Teen volunteers age 14 and up are welcome at Brandywine Zoo in Wilmington and can work with guests or animals. The Zoo also offers animal care and education department internships to volunteers over 18 years old. 

Florida

The Florida Aquarium offers two ways for teens to get involved — the Teen Education Program and the SEA League. 

Georgia

Trees Atlanta welcomes volunteers of all ages to attend their tree and meadow plantings (typically October – March) and ages 12 and up for tree maintenance projects (typically April – September). Volunteers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Hawaii

Teens can share their “talking story” with kūpuna (seniors) at Lunalilo Home in Oahu.

Idaho

The Boise Bicycle Project repairs and distributes bikes to those who need them. Teens under 18 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian while training, but graduates of the Youth Earn-a-Bike program do not require parent or guardian supervision when volunteering.

Illinois

Honeycomb Project

The Honeycomb Project hosts family volunteer events in Chicago. Their new virtual volunteer program is also growing fast! More than 2,500 kids and their families have already signed-on to volunteer.

Indiana

Bring history to life! Kids ages 10 through 18 can portray a historical character at  Connor Prairie outside of Indianapolis. 

Iowa

Teen athletes can give back with Courage League Sports throughout Central Iowa. This is a great volunteer opportunity for students who need service hours.

Kansas

KindCraft plans monthly events in Kansas City perfect for families to volunteer with children and teens.

Kentucky

Kentucky Sciene Center

Teens can volunteer at the Kentucky Science Center in Louisville through programs such as Home School VolunTeens and the Youth Infusion Board.

Louisiana

Nature-loving teens can become Jr. Naturalists at the Audubon Louisiana Nature Center. They also offer virtual environmental education and social events.

Maine

Portland Trails helps maintain trails, including those for hiking and biking. Volunteers must be at least age 18 or be accompanied by a guardian in order to volunteer.

Maryland

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

The volunteer program at the Maryland SPCA is designed for individuals 17 years of age and older, but teen under 17 can still make a difference by making cat and dog toys and blankets, collecting items on the wish list, reading to shelter pets, or enrolling in the youth internship program.

Massachussetts

Cradles to Crayons Giving Factory encourages entire families to volunteer with children side-by-side to make lasting family memories as they help make a real difference in the lives of others.

Michigan

Gleaners Food Bank welcomes youth volunteers to help prepare food for those who need it. At the same time, participants will learn about nutrition and hunger issues.

Minnesota

VEAP, based in Bloomington, encourages teens to volunteer with their friends, teams, or clubs to share their passion for a great cause while having fun.

Mississippi

MCM’s Volunteer Programs, for ages 16 and up, are the perfect way for teens to earn community service hours, get real world experience, meet new people at the Mississippi Children’s Museum!

Missouri

Missouri Botanical Garden offers a network of teen programs as well as some for elementary-age students.

Montana

The Montana Wilderness Association‘s Youth Engagement program gives teens a chance to learn about land stewardship.

Nebraska

Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium has volunteer opportunities for all students in 4th through 12th grade.

Nevada

Kids age 14 and up can volunteer at Springs Preserve, outside of Las Vegas, where they’ll help maintain the grounds and engage guests.

New Hampshire

At the  Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, youth volunteers help with guests and special events.

New Jersey

Teens can print a coloring page from the Color a Smile website, color it however they like, and then have it delivered to senior citizens, troops overseas, or anyone who needs a smile.

New Mexico 

Lovers of southwestern history can volunteer at El Rancho de las Golondrias in Santa Fe.

New York

Volunteer New York enriches lives with unique youth volunteering opportunities for families and teens.

North Carolina

Know a teen who is interested in pursuing a career in medicine? Guide them to the Rex Healthcare VolunTEEN program to gain practical experience in a medical setting.

North Dakota

Workforce North Dakota

The State Historical Society of North Dakota provides volunteers to historic and cultural sites around the state.

Ohio

Kids ages 13 and up can volunteer at Stepping Stones in Cincinnati. Here, they’ll help improve the lives of those with disabilities.

Oklahoma 

STEM lovers in grades 7 through 12 can join the Teen Apprentice Program at Science Museum Oklahoma.

Oregon

Children's Book Bank

Explore a wide variety of virtual volunteering opportunities at the Children’s Book Bank.

Pennsylvania

Kids ages 4 and up can join their families at Pittsburgh’s FosterLoveProject, where they’ll help prepare items for foster kids.

Rhode Island

Student ambassadors for Clothes to Kids of Rhode Island coordinate clothing drives among their peers.

South Carolina

The Charleston Animal Society’s youth volunteer programs are available to kids and teens between the ages of 8-17.

South Dakota

Teens age 14 and over can help guests learn through play while volunteering at the Children’s Museum of South Dakota in Brookings.

Tennessee 

Teens must be between 14 and 17 years old who have completed at least one year of high school science to volunteer at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga.

Texas

Mission Accomplished’s Operation Clean Clothes in Austin washes clothes for the homeless. Teens and families volunteering with children are welcome.

 Utah 

Tracy Aviary

Know a teen who loves birds? Youth 15-18 years of age are welcome to volunteer with any department except Aviculture at the Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake City.

Vermont

Older teens can volunteer their time at the ECHO aquarium and science center in Burlington. 

Virginia

Teens and families volunteering at Housing Families First in Richmond help support homeless families.

Washington

Northwest Harvest has ongoing volunteer opportunities for anyone who is nine years old and up. The organization works to provide hunger relief throughout Washington. 

West Virginia 

Good Zoo at Oglebay

Seventh graders and older can help with the daily responsibilities of running the Good Zoo at Oglebay.

Wisconsin

Toddlers and Kids on a Mission in Milwaukee is dedicated to families volunteering with children.

Wyoming

Youth volunteers are welcome at Cheyenne Frontier Days, where the organization hopes to recruit supporters for life. 

50+ Ideas (One for Every State!) for Volunteering With Your Children and Teens