Doing community service projects might be a graduation requirement for your school or an extracurricular you're involved in, but it also can be great for college applications, help you gain valuable skills, and help you feel connected to your community. And regardless of the reason you're giving back, it's really valuable.
It's easy to feel good about doing good, but it’s not always so easy hunting down available opportunities that you can work into your busy schedule. If you're looking for unique community service ideas for high school students in your area, you might need to think outside the box — but these ideas can get you started.
Community Service Ideas Any High School Student Can Do
As you move throughout high school, you may join clubs or programs that require you to complete a certain number of service hours for the semester or year. Cash in on those hours with these various ideas:
Volunteer With After-School Programs
If you need something that doesn’t take up your weekends, try volunteering with some elementary or middle school’s after-school programs. These programs are usually run by teachers, but they can always do with having a few extra hands on staff to keep the kids occupied.
Depending on where you live, you can donate blood as young as 16 with parental consent. Hospitals are always in need of more donations, and you can do your part by lying back in a chair and giving a few pints. Just make sure you’re healthy, have good iron levels, and eat before you go.
Help People Register to Vote
While you might not be 18 and registered to vote yet, you can educate at-risk people in your community about the process and help them sign up. Look for grassroots groups that work to eliminate disenfranchisement in your community and see if there are any opportunities there to volunteer.
Help With a Community Fridge
Community fridges are awesome mutual-aid programs that help end food insecurity and food deserts by taking donations and offering them free to the public. Find a community fridge near you and start regularly donating. You can also see if you can get on the volunteer list to help maintain the fridge for a few weeks.
Make Tie Blankets to Donate
Tie blankets are the easiest kind of blanket to make. All you need is two different kinds of felt fabric, some scissors, and some time on your hands. Anyone can cut and tie the end strips together to create a double-sided blanket. Make a couple of these and donate them to shelters, schools, and community centers around you.
Raise Money and Walk or Run in a Charity Event
Whether it’s a 5k, 10k, or 20k, you can get those steps in and some money raised for a good cause of your choice by looking for a charity race to participate in. Just about every month of the year you can find a new walk or race being organized. Even if you're not super athletic, you can do it. Try a learn-to-run app to get started running, or just walk your way toward helping others.
Community Service Options for Introverted Teens
Being a teen is hard. You’re growing and half the time your body doesn’t even feel like your own. Add to it all kinds of academic and extracurricular expectations, and you’ve probably got your battery tapped out by the end of the week.
If you or your kid is someone who’s more of an introvert and doesn’t love the idea of jumping into a really visible volunteer position, try one of these low-key options instead.
Write Holiday Cards for Your Local Nursing Home
Bring a little holiday cheer to the residents at your local nursing home by hand-crafting holiday cards. All you need to do is contact the staff to see if they’re accepting outside donations like this and if so, how many they’re willing to take. Then get to work glittering, gluing, and putting the final touches on your masterpieces.
Help Out at the Local Animal Shelter
Animals are an introvert’s dream because they don’t require a lot from you to be happy. Contact the local animal shelter to see what kind of service positions they might have available. Some of the things you could do are:
- Clean out kennels and cages
- Play with young animals (puppies, kittens, etc.)
- Exercise them by walking them or playing with them in a fence or pen
Serve With a Local Cleanup Crew
From beach cleanup to roadside maintenance, you might be able to find organizations in your area that do regular cleanup days throughout the year. While you might be working on crews, there’s a lot of space to grab litter and tidy on your own.
Help Elementary School Kids Practice Reading
If you love kids but get overwhelmed with them in large groups, try contacting an elementary school or daycare in your area and ask if they’d be willing to let you come in and help some of the kids practice reading with you. It’s a great way to knock out your community service hours and give kids who may be behind standards the 1:1 time they need to excel.
Offer to Organize a Teacher’s Classroom
Teachers are endlessly busy and you’d be doing them a huge favor by offering to organize their classrooms. This is a great idea as it’s nearing the end of the year and there’s a lot of stuff to box up or be deep cleaned. It’s a community service option that keeps you far away from the big group activities that might drag you down.
Group Community Service Ideas for Teens to Do With Friends
Banding together and working as a team to complete your community service hours accomplishes even more good in the world. From making the plans and allocating the tasks, these are some service ideas you and your friends can launch on your own.
Plan an Art Show
Community art shows are awesome ways to highlight people’s creativity and raise donations for a specific charity or group. Schedule a space (it can even be a room in your local library or community center) and advertise that you’re looking for artwork donations. Then send out invites for the afternoon or evening and let the crowd purchase the pieces they connect to. Then send those donations to a charity of your choice.
Beautify a Neighbor’s Yard
If you’ve ever prepped your garden for the spring and summer months, you know just how much labor and time it can take to get it fully ready. If you or your friends have noticed an overgrown yard in your area, consider asking the homeowner if they’re willing to let you come in and give it the beauty treatment. With your friends in tow, you can knock out the mowing, weeding, clearing, and planting in a day or two.
Practice a One Act Play and Perform it Around Town
One Act plays are perfect for groups that are short on a budget but big on enthusiasm. Spend time perfecting your performances and travel to hospitals, nursing homes, and shelters to put on an afternoon show. The arts can be incredibly healing, and you just might touch people’s lives in ways you’d never intended.
Organize a Book Drive
Reading is a skill that can transport people during hard times and help lift them out of difficult situations. Help boost literacy and access in your community by hosting a book drive. Ask local businesses if you can place boxes in their entryways for donations. Drum up more interest with flyers and social media posts.
As you’re collecting books, find the different places in your areas that need them most. Shelters and prisons are just two you can contact; or, if you’ve got the time, work to set up a free exchange library box or Little Library somewhere in your community.
Find Community Service Options That Speak to You
There’s truly an endless list of things you can do to help out your community. Instead of getting overwhelmed by all of the possibilities, focus on finding ways to incorporate the things you already love into your service. You’ll be so much more motivated to get out there and conquer your hours when you’re doing something that you’re passionate about.