Many high schools are now requiring you to do community service projects in order to graduate. Universities check into your extra-curriculars to see if you’ve made an impact on your community. Volunteering also makes you a better person. So where do you start?
Things to Consider Before Starting Community Service Projects
Since you’re going to be dedicating your spare time to this, it’s important that you find the right community service project for you. Having fun is possible (and maybe even advisable) when you’re volunteering! Here are three things you need to think about when choosing your project:
- What or who do you want to impact? If you connect better with adults then volunteering with kids probably isn’t a good call. Think about what issues are important to you.
- How often are you able to volunteer? If you’re up from 6AM until 11PM every single day with school, work, homework, and extracurricular activities then volunteering every day won’t work for you. Take a look at your schedule and when you can find time to help out.
- What skills do you have or want to gain? Are you looking to develop leadership skills? Do you have a natural ability to inspire others? Make a list of your skills and keep them nearby when you’re looking for community service projects to participate in.
List of Community Service Projects You Can Do
Below, you’ll find a list of 70 different ideas you can do in your school or city. You can copy them exactly or use them as inspiration when creating your own community service projects. They are divided into areas of interest so you can quickly find what appeals to you.
Animal Volunteer Ideas
- Help out at your local animal shelter
- Become a foster parent for pets waiting to be adopted
- Work with an animal rescue group
- Hold a community dog wash and give donations to your local shelter or rescue group
- Donate food and supplies to your area’s animal shelter or food bank
- “Adopt” a Zoo Animal through your local zoo
- Build birdhouses and donate them to your city’s nature center
- Collect and send Valentines, Christmas or Thank You cards to veterans
- Plant Trees for Arbor Day
- Have an Easter egg hunt for kids in your area homeless shelter
- Trick or Treat for UNICEF
- Be a bell ringer for the Salvation Army
- Donate holiday items to a homeless shelter or nursing home
- Sing carols with your friends to people in convalescent homes, nursing homes, and people in the hospital over the holidays
Ideas to Help Children, Family, and Friends
- Organize a Relay for Life
- Become pen pals with a child in a different country
- Crochet, knit, or quilt baby blankets and donate them
- Create a babysitting service for foster families
- Collect and donate school supplies to families in need
- Tutor younger students for free
- Coordinate a puzzle or arts and crafts day with a kindergarten class in your city
Environmental Community Service Projects
- Clean and beautify a beach, local park, or riverbed
- Donate the money from plastic bottles and aluminum cans to a local charity
- Visit this website to find what eco-friendly projects need help in your area
- Adopt a highway to clean up and maintain
- Start an environmental club for your school or neighborhood
- Sign up for, create, and plant Bumble Bands to spread awareness about the dwindling bee population
- Donate bottled water to areas without access to clean water
- Write letters of support to our Troops overseas
- Organize a letter writing or phone call campaign to your local senators and representatives about an issue that’s important to your school or neighborhood
- Register people to vote
- Campaign for a candidate running for office
- Become a student volunteer at your local VA
- Offer to drive senior citizens to the polls on election days
- Hold a public issues forum for candidates in your area
Helping the Homeless or Hungry
- Organize a Meal Packing Event
- Hold a canned goods drive for your local food pantry
- Collect items like blankets, books, disposable diapers, sheets, towels, and toys and donate them to your local homeless shelter
- Create a Reading Hour once a week where you and some friends bring books to give and share with your area’s homeless shelter
- Spend time at your local Soup Kitchen
- Set up a daycare program in the homeless shelter so parents can look for jobs while you look after their kids
- Make care kits with personal hygiene items and donate them to your local homeless shelters
Neighborhood Improvement Community Service Projects
- Have a Trash Scavenger Hunt
- Work with Habitat for Humanity
- Fix a damaged or run-down playground
- Organize or help with a blood drive for the American Red Cross
- Design and paint a community mural
- Help paint and repair homes in your area
- Clean up your neighborhood after a bad storm or national disaster
Safety Volunteer Ideas
- Raise awareness about teen suicide and how to help
- Earn your lifeguard certification and volunteer at the beach or a pool
- Create or work with a Neighborhood Watch Program
- Coordinate with local police to create a self-defense workshop
- Post a list of hotlines on the lockers in your school
- Help out at your local fire or police department
- Create an awareness campaign during cold and flu season to keep everyone healthy
Help Your Local Senior Citizens
- Create a yard care service to mowing lawns, raking leaves, and snow shoveling
- Organize a delivery service to pick up groceries or prescriptions
- Read to people in nursing homes
- Adopt a “granfriend” and visit them regularly
- Throw a senior prom and help attendees get ready for the event
- Offer to teach senior citizens in retirement homes how to use computers, the internet, smartphones, or tablets
- Spend an hour or two a week visiting with a senior citizen
Ideas to Help People with Special Needs
- Help with the Special Olympics
- Deliver gifts and toys to children in the hospital
- Create a buddy system at your school for kids with special need
- Adopt-a-Family through Camp Dreamcatcher, an organization that helps children impacted by HIV/AIDS
- Coordinate a wheelchair basketball league
- Offer to read books, letters, or newspapers to the visually impaired
- Make an art project with physically disabled
So… Now What Do You Do?Now that you have an idea which community service projects interest you, here’s what you can do:
- Keep your schedule in mind. We can help you with time management and balancing your schedule. This will keep you from being overwhelmed by everything you have going on.
- Research. Be sure to look up the opportunities available in your area. This will help you identify who you need to talk with so you can get started helping your community.
- Connect. Reach out to the groups you want to volunteer with. Tell them why you’re excited to work with them and ask how you can help.
- Remember. Keep a log of your volunteer hours, a list of the places you volunteer with, their contact information, and be a good example while you’re volunteering.
What If The Project Isn’t in Your Area?
If the community service project you want to do is connected to a larger organization, contact them and see if they allow or offer help with setting up new chapters. If there isn’t a larger organization, organize it yourself! Connect with the groups involved and see if they will assist you or ask for help from a teacher or parent. You can do this!
Community service is a vital part of high school, getting into college, and growing up. There are so many areas where you can make an impact, from animals to special needs. Remember to keep a balanced schedule and keep track of where you volunteer. If what you want to do isn’t available in your area or doesn't exist yet then you can always create it.
Now it’s your turn! Do you have any questions about volunteering? Did we leave anything off this list? Let us know in the comments section below!