Timothy Peck 5 min read Extracurricular Activities

20 Online Community Service Ideas for High Schoolers

Along with strong grades and excellent test scores, many college admissions offices are also looking for students with robust resumes of extracurricular activities. An easy way to build up your portfolio of extracurriculars is with community service—but with face-to-face volunteer opportunities limited these days, you might be wondering how to find community service opportunities online. Luckily, there are a ton of great organizations looking for high schoolers with an interest in performing online community service.

 

20 Online Community Service Ideas for Teens

 

1. Translators Without Borders  

 

This opportunity is perfect for students interested in humanitarian aid, and who have fluency in a second language. Volunteers can perform online community service by translating texts for a variety of international organizations focused on crisis relief, health, and education. To date, the organization has translated more than 80 million words! 

 

2. Tarjimly 

 

Another way to put those second-language skills to work is by volunteering with Tarjimly, an app providing on-demand translation services for refugees, asylees, and immigrants. 

 

3. Project Gutenberg 

 

Project Gutenberg has the audacious goal of creating the world’s largest digital library, and their current collection contains over 60,000 free books. This program is in need of volunteer proofreaders as they continue to build their library. 

 

4. Bookshare 

 

Bookshare is an organization focused on making reading more accessible to people with reading barriers such as dyslexia, learning disabilities, visual impairments, and physical disabilities. With a library of more than 900,000 titles, Bookshare needs volunteers to scan in new books and proofread scanned files as they continue to improve their collection. 

 

5. Operation Gratitude 

 

Put your pen to work, flex your writing skills, and show your support for first responders, troops, and veterans. This organization collects thank-you letters from “regular” people and sends them to those serving our country. 

 

6. TeensGive 

 

This organization makes tutoring easy for students in grades 9-12. TeensGive removes the time-consuming (and often tricky) travel component of tutoring, pairing students with online tutors. They also break down barriers by targeting the communities that most need help—often underserved schools, homeless children, and former gang members trying to catch up. 

 

7. School on Wheels 

 

Another great opportunity for volunteers ages 16 to 18 is to tutor Southern California students living in shelters, motels, vehicles, group foster homes, and the streets. Playing a small role in overcoming an enormous problem—1 in 20 children in California are homeless—volunteers work digitally with students ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade.

 

8. Citizen Archivist 

 

Students with an interest in history can volunteer to help the National Archives preserve and share the public records detailing the story of our nation and its people. Volunteers are needed to transcribe, tag, and add comments in order to make them more accessible and searchable. 

 

9. Citizen Scholar 

 

Another interesting online community service opportunity for history buffs is with the Smithsonian Institute, the world’s largest museum and research complex. Citizen Scholars assist in the transcription of historic documents and papers of prominent Americans, along with records from the Smithsonian’s scientific collection to make them more accessible to researchers and the public. 

 

10. Teenangels 

 

This is an awesome opportunity for students ages 13 to 18 who dream of having a job in cybersecurity, or are simply interested in computers. Teenangels volunteers run programs in schools that teach teachers, parents, and kids about the responsible and safe use of the internet—they’ve even presented before Congress!  

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11. Mozilla

 

You might not have known, but the organization behind the popular web browser Firefox is a non-profit and is always looking for volunteer help. Computer-savvy high schoolers can perform online community service helping with everything from programming to design to testing. 

 

12. Donate:Code 

 

High schoolers with coding skills can build their portfolios, sharpen their skills, and help out the causes they care about. This organization connects charities and community groups to people who are willing to donate their time and skills to them.  

 

13. Amnesty Decoders

 

This arm of Amnesty International provides a platform for volunteers to perform online community service by using their computers and phones to comb through pictures, documents, and other information to expose human rights projects. Projects include everything from finding tweets abusive to women to locating vulnerable villages in Darfur.  

 

14. Be My Eyes 

 

This amazing organization is a great way to get community service hours online. It connects volunteers with blind and low-vision people through a video app to provide visual assistance with everything from checking expiration dates to distinguishing colors to reading instructions.  

 

15. Adopt a Nursing Home 

 

Nursing home residents are struggling with their emotional and mental health, as they can no longer receive visitors. A solution from the Texas Health Care Association, Adopt a Nursing Home connects volunteers with residents (and staff) and provides the ability to send online messages and physical letters to help keep spirits high. 

 

16. Lifetime Connections Without Walls

 

Another opportunity for high schoolers interested in supporting the elderly, this organization provides seniors with a wide range of classes and activities they can participate in from the comfort of their homes. Log online community service hours assisting with everything from facilitating sessions to reminding participants about them. 

 

17. The Trevor Project 

 

This is a fantastic program for students over age 18 who want to provide a safe online space for LGBTQ youth, ages 13 to 24. Volunteers from all backgrounds are welcome. Program members have saved countless lives and improved the well-being of hundreds of thousands of young people since the project’s founding in 1998. 

 

18. Best Buddies

 

This organization is dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They’re looking for volunteers for their e-Buddies program—a commitment to email at least once every two weeks. Participants are matched to a buddy based on interest, games, and location (people living in the same state aren’t matched), making this a great way to make a new friend, make a person feel more included, and volunteer. 

 

19. Girls Inc. 

 

Even students with only limited time can carve out time—just five minutes a week—for this fantastic online community service opportunity. As a social media ambassador, you can help amplify the organization’s message by creating and sharing social posts focused on teaching girls how to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers and helping them grow up healthy, educated, and independent. 

 

20. Humane Society 

 

While many animal lovers would love to volunteer at their local shelter or foster an animal, it’s not always feasible. Luckily, there are still ways to give back, one of which is volunteering for the Humane Society’s phone bank. In this position, students over the age of 16 will place phone calls in support of the organization’s legislative priorities and ballot initiatives. 

 

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Timothy Peck
Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.