I completed multiple community service projects as a high school student. My high school didn't force community service as a graduation requirement, but it was highly encouraged. I learned countless lessons from my time spent volunteering that I know I wouldn't have learned elsewhere. Whether you're trying to satisfy a requirement or volunteer for fun, here are a few community service projects perfect for high schoolers.
The United Way
Check out the United Way website for volunteer opportunities near you. The website allows you to enter your city, state, or zip code to find nonprofit organizations seeking volunteers. This is a good opportunity to discover new organizations in your area you may not have been familiar with in the past. You can also filter the results by category if you're interested in volunteering with a nonprofit with a specific mission.
Visit a local recycling center to learn how materials are recycled in your community. Identify any areas within your community that could benefit from improvements to their recycling program. Examine the practices and procedures at your high school to see if changes can be made to improve its recycling program. Brainstorm ways that recycled materials can be used within your community. Plan a way to use recycled paper materials, and organize a collection of these materials. Include an educational presentation to help community members learn about the benefits of recycling paper materials.
Service at Community Gardens
Ask around to see if you're town has a community garden or orchard - it probably does! Offer to help pull weeds, rake leaves, plant trees, or help with other general upkeep duties. This is a great opportunity to spend time outdoors and take time to pause and appreciate nature.
Big Brothers Big Sisters
If you enjoy working with children, look into joining the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. The program matches children with a mentor. Mentors act as a support system to the child by helping them navigate struggles and inspiring them to achieve their dreams. This volunteer opportunity is extremely rewarding but requires a big-time commitment, so be sure to do your research before diving in.
Organize a project to clean up a portion of the community. Enlist the help of volunteer students and adults to help pick up trash in a specific area. Break the volunteers into smaller groups, and assign an adult to supervise each group of students. Provide gloves and trash bags, and choose a day to work to clean up the community.
Organize a car wash for community vehicles. Enlist volunteer workers to wash police cars and other community fleet vehicles. Choose a day, provide the materials and meet in a parking lot to wash vehicles for the community. You could collect money from the car wash then donate it to a local nonprofit in your community.
Maddie Maloy is a junior at Indiana University (IU) studying journalism and minoring in marketing and public and environmental affairs. She is passionate about advancing social justice globally through communication and storytelling. At IU, she works as a reporter for the Arnolt Center of Investigative Journalism. She also serve as the vice president and philanthropy chair for Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Inc.