You may not need community service for your college applications, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter. Even if your high school doesn’t require it—though many do—volunteering demonstrates that you’re invested in bettering your local community and the world. It’s also a great extracurricular for your resume.

 

Whether you commit to an independent activity, do it through school, or join an organization, you’re showing that you’re a take-charge, civic-minded person who cares about improving the lives of others.

 

Looking for some community service ideas for people your age? Read on for 32 of our favorites.

 

How Do I Find Community Service Opportunities?

There are plenty of opportunities for teenagers to volunteer in their communities. The important part is that you find an activity that correlates to your interests and skills and stick with it, rather than going from charity to charity, because colleges want to see that you really care about the cause and aren’t just padding your resume. Make sure you check the age restrictions before you sign up, because some organizations require volunteers to be 18+.

 

Community Service Clubs at Your School

There are several benefits to joining a community service-oriented club at your school. For starters, it allows you to be around like-minded peers and recruit others at your school to get involved. Plus, if you start a new club, you’re showing leadership.

 

1. Amnesty International: Start or join an existing chapter of this human rights organization at your school and fight against human rights abuses around the world.

2. Key Club: Develop leadership skills through this service-oriented club.

3. Students Against Destructive Decisions: Promote youth health and safety in your community and around the country.

4. Operation Smile: Raise money and build awareness for children with cleft palates and cleft lips around the world.

5. Special Olympics: Help people with disabilities participate in sporting events.

6. Habitat for Humanity: Organize a group to help build homes for people in need. (NB: Participants must be 16+ and have parental permission if they are under 18.)

7. Sustainability or environmental awareness club: Educate others at your school and in your community about the importance of sustainability, and host green-conscious events.

8. Tutoring club: Organize a group of students to tutor peers or other children in your community.

9. General volunteering club: Mobilize classmates to get involved with different organizations and causes. You might volunteer at soup kitchens and hospitals, for instance.

 

Projects Through Organizations in Your Community

You can use your knowledge and skills to help others in your community as an independent or group activity.

 

10. Teach computer skills at your local library or senior center.

11. Tutor at a community center, your high school, or another school in your area.

12. Volunteer at an animal shelter. (NB: Age restrictions may apply.)

13. Volunteer at a local daycare.

14. Help out at a children’s reading group at your library.

15. Run social media for a nonprofit.

16. Help out at an afterschool program.

17. Volunteer at a hospital.

18. Donate your time to a senior center.

19. Start a community garden.

Build a Profile That Will Impress Admissions Officers

Our mentorship program helps students in 9th, 10th, and 11th grade discover their passions, build their resumes, and get guidance throughout high school.

DIY Community Service Opportunities

20. Send care packages to deployed troops.

21. Collect gifts for children’s hospitals.

22. Start a book drive and donate books to a local library or literacy center.

23. Prepare meals for soup kitchens and homeless centers.

24. Have a bake sale to raise money for a charity of your choosing.

25. Organize a letter-writing campaign to write letters to your state representatives about an important cause.

26. Knit blankets for people in need. Check out Project Linus for tips.

27. Check out DoSomething.org to find projects that our important to you. Through this site, you can specify the type of project, time commitment, and cause you’d prefer.

 

Event Volunteer Opportunities

Sponsor or initiate an event to benefit an important cause. You could participate in an existing event or start one of your own. Demonstrate leadership by organizing a group of a participants from your school or community.

 

28. Race for the Cure: Organize a group to run or walk and raise money for breast cancer research.

29. Earth Day cleanup: Collect trash or clean up a park to promote environmental awareness.

30. Blood Drive: Connect with the Red Cross to organize a drive at your school. (NB: Donors must be 18+ to participate, or 17 with parental permission.)

31. Be the Match Registry: Recruit others to join the bone marrow registry. You could also volunteer and join events to fundraise for the organization. (NB: You must be 18+ to donate.)

32. National disaster relief fundraiser: Host an event to raise funds to help people and communities affected by a disaster.

 

The Takeaway

There are plenty of volunteering opportunities for teenagers. Find one for your specific niche, and be sure to commit to your project and follow through. While you can definitely take on multiple projects, make sure you’re not spreading yourself too thin, since you want to show colleges that you’re truly committed to your cause.

 

Interested in making service part of your education? Check out our list of community service-oriented colleges.

 

Be sure to check out volunteer opportunities for specific niches as well:

Community Service Ideas for Artists

Community Service Projects for Music Majors

Looking for help navigating the road to college as a high school student? Check out the CollegeVine Mentorship Program. Our mentors drive significant personal and professional development for their high school mentees. Combining mentorship with engaging content, insider strategies, and personalized analyses, our program provides students with the tools to succeed. As students learn from successful older peers, they develop confidence, autonomy, and critical thinking skills to help maximize their chances of success in college, business, and life

Want more tips on improving your academic profile?

We'll send valuable information to help you strengthen your profile and get ready for college admissions.



Laura Berlinsky-Schine

Laura Berlinsky-Schine

Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where she majored in Creative Writing and minored in History. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and works in publishing. She also writes, dreams of owning a dog, and routinely brags about the health of her orchid.
Laura Berlinsky-Schine