Teens learn valuable skills and important life lessons while volunteering

Whether you are looking for ways your child can earn required volunteering credits, productive ways to spend the summer holidays, or simply encouraging your student to give back to his or her community, volunteer work is a great option.

Serving as a volunteer helps a student understand the importance of community service, and imparts valuable skills that he or she will utilize for a lifetime. If you are not sure where you can find opportunities for your teen, here are a few suggestions.

1. Animal shelters

Many local animal shelters need volunteers for everything from clerical work to dog-walking. Animal shelters are often volunteer-driven and rely on community support to help the animals in their care. Chores, like cleaning cages, filing records, answering phones, or spending quality time with the animals, are outsourced to willing volunteers.

If you think your child might be interested in volunteering with a local animal rescue, call the facility’s office coordinator to find out what help may be needed. Here are a few local shelters in South Florida that might be a good fit:

2. Senior centers or assisted living facilities

Assisted living facilities and retirement homes in the community are great places for teens to volunteer. Many senior citizens would be ecstatic to spend time with young, energetic people who can brighten their day by running activities or even just spending an afternoon talking together.

One volunteer service that is commonly requested by senior residents is music – if your child plays an instrument or sings, consider encouraging them to share these talents with seniors, who will appreciate a performance.

Often, senior communities will have a recreation director that runs the programming and coordinates volunteers. You can contact nearby facilities to see where your child may be welcomed. Here are some local suggestions:

3. Help the environment

Environmental conscientiousness is an integral value for today’s young people. Many teens are deeply concerned about the threat of climate change and pollution. You can encourage these important values by helping your teen find community service ideas that help the environment.

Some suggestions include starting a neighborhood garden, hosting a “cleanup day” at a local park, or initiating a recycling program if your community does not already have one. If your child is interested in environmental policy, you can have them volunteer with local organizations where they can learn the ropes of earth-friendly advocacy.

The importance of community service

At American Heritage Schools, we encourage all of our students to contribute to their communities by volunteering. Serving the community teaches students valuable skills and fosters a sense of civic responsibility. Volunteering is a great way for students to develop extra-curricular involvement in the community and give a student a sense of his or her strengths and talents.

American Heritage Schools is a leader in private education, academic excellence, and innovation. With two 40 acre campuses, one in Broward County and the other in Palm Beach County, Florida, we serve 4,600 students grades Pre-K 3 through 12. American Heritage Schools was recently named the #1 Private School for academic success with the highest number of National Merit Scholars of all private schools in the nation. For over 55 years, our mission of knowledge, integrity, and compassion through developing the full potential of each child to be an active, intelligent, creative, and contributing member of society. Contact an admissions director for more information or sign up for a campus tour.