Providing community service opportunities for teens is rewarding and important work. Community service empowers teens and gives them the chance to meet new people and increase confidence> They will also discover new skills and interests, and gain valuable work experience.
Community service is not one-size-fits-all. While all community service is meaningful, some opportunities can directly benefit teens. According to a recent study, teens thrive in service that requires them to help strangers, as opposed to people they know. Doing so can raise their self-esteem and develop positive emotional changes. Here are six community service ideas that give teenagers the chance to help strangers:
1. Volunteer at a local soup kitchen
Soup kitchens rely on volunteers to support their workflow. Local soup kitchens receive an influx of volunteers during the holidays. Your group can fill a need by offering to help at other times of the year. Volunteering within a soup kitchen provides a hands-on opportunity for teens to form new cooking skills, learn from others, and communicate with those in need.
2. Hand out meals to the homeless
Can’t make it to the soup kitchen? Create meals on your own and hand them out to homeless individuals! These meals can be as simple as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a side of fruit. The easiest way to create affordable and nutritious meals is to buy items that come in a bundle: bread, bananas, pretzels, oranges, etc. Teens will see how their actions directly impact someone else’s day. Additionally, they can develop empathy skills and inspire onlookers to take the same course of action.
With our Nutrition Program, teens can advocate for better nutrition in their community.
3. Talk with residence in a nursing home
Activities for seniors living within a nursing home can be repetitive. Often, residents experience feelings of loneliness. There is an opportunity for teens to brighten a resident’s day when they strike up a conversation. This type of community service allows teens to build upon their social skills and create an enriched environment for those who need it.
Take a look at our Companion Patch Program® to find ideas for helping seniors in your community.
4. Write letters to hospitalized children
Not all community service that helps strangers requires face to face interaction. Teens can express their creativity and provide words of encouragement to young kids that are hospitalized and dealing with difficult circumstances. Programs such as Cards for Hospitalized Kids accept letters and distribute them to hospitalized children who need extra support.
5. Teach adults
According to ProLiteracy, more than 36 million adults in the United States cannot read, write, or do basic math above a third-grade level. Furthermore, With ever-increasing competition in the workforce, it’s essential that adults have basic literacy skills to help themselves, their families, and their communities. Teens can build a sense of purpose when they teach adults to read, write, and understand basic mathematical concepts. When teens help boost adult literacy, they can directly impact a person’s ability to build a better life.
Teens interested in improving education in their community for adults and youth will find inspiration in our Education Program.
6. Help the animals
Not all strangers are people. Teens can also help our animal friends! With our Animal Welfare Program, teens can help animals through animal advocacy. They’ll have the chance to improve their communication skills, discover new interests, and build upon their work experience.
These community service ideas give teens the chance to build their self-esteem, boost morale, and serve others. Discover how you can help teens develop their confidence through meaningful acts of community service through our Youth Squad program.