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Be a Volunteer

Medically reviewed by: Lavisha Pelaez, MPH

Volunteering means spending some of your time helping others. Kids can volunteer doing lots of different things. You can help a family who lost their home in a flood. Or you can collect canned goods to fill a local food pantry. You might even want to raise money for a cause you care about.

Why Is Volunteering Good for Kids?

When you volunteer, you help others — and you help yourself!

Volunteering gives you the chance to:

  • Make a difference. Whether you donate your old clothes to a clothing bank, bring a meal to a sick neighbor, or help care for pets at an animal shelter, you can feel good about taking action to make the world better.
  • Try something new. You can test out things you’ve never done before. For example, clean up a park or write cards to kids in the hospital. You may find something new you enjoy.
  • Get out of a rut. Do you ever feel bored, stuck, or annoyed? Volunteering lets you change gears and spend time focusing on others for a while. You’ll probably even get to meet new people who like to do the same things as you.
  • Cope with your feelings. If you're upset about something — like a hurricane, war, or other disaster — doing something about it can help you feel better.
  • Practice being responsible. When you’re a volunteer, you learn to work hard because people depend on you to do something important.

What Kinds of Volunteering Can Kids Do?

It’s best for kids to volunteer with a group of people they already know, like their class or with their family. See if you can find a project that everyone thinks would be fun to do together. Here are some ideas:

  • Clean up a park or along a river.
  • Plant trees or flowers in your local community.
  • Serve food at a homeless shelter.
  • Deliver meals to seniors or people who are sick at home.
  • Clean up a school or other public building.
  • Count wildlife or plants for an environmental group.

How Do You Get Started?

So many organizations need volunteers! Ask a teacher, school counselor, or librarian for ideas. Call your local parks department or look online for suggestions. If you belong to a church, temple, mosque, or other place of worship, ask an adult who works there. Houses of worship often set up projects to help needy people in their area.

Your parents or other close relatives may have ideas too. Kids often start by working on a volunteer project with their parents. For example, if you’re too young to prepare food at a soup kitchen by yourself, you might be able to go along with your parents and pitch in.

Maybe you have your own idea to raise money for a cause you care about. Do you have a special talent or favorite activity, like sewing, beading, or baking? Think about making and selling your creation. Or ask your parents if you can set up a lemonade stand in your neighborhood on a hot summer day. Then you can proudly donate the money you raise to a charity.

So, what are you waiting for? Make a plan to start volunteering today!

Medically reviewed by: Lavisha Pelaez, MPH
Date reviewed: April 2022