4 Safe and Inspiring Volunteering Ideas for Kids and Teens in 2021

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, most kids and teens were actively involved in school clubs, team sports, or after-school jobs. Then schools closed, local businesses cut down on the number of staff, and many summer camps have been canceled. You may be finding that older kids and teens have more time on their hands than they know what to do with. Are you worried about how to keep your children occupied this summer?  Here are four safe volunteering ideas we hope will inspire your family. 

Join pen pal programs for older adults in assisted living facilities. 

To curb the spread of the COVID-19, many assisted living facilities have implemented strict protocols to protect their residents, which has led to increased loneliness among the residents. Why not be a pen pal with an older adult? Your kids can connect to elderly adults who may be feeling especially lonely, and it will be a great way to practice writing with a purpose. 

Check with your local assisted living facilities to find out if they have any pen pal programs running. You can also set up a virtual game night or reconnect with family friends or family who have been isolated due to COVID-19.



Tutor other teens and younger students online

The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply impacted our education system. As we transition toward a new school year, most students across the country will experience some form of online learning and may be less likely to seek out help from teachers. Teensgive.org allows teens in 9th-12th grade to tutor their peers online. The application process has a fast turnaround time, and your teen can be helping another teen within a week of submission.

Another way for teens to become virtual volunteer tutors is to simply let their teachers know they are available. The teachers can contact parents who might find it useful to have a teen help their children with homework.


Create awareness for local nonprofits on social media

Many teenagers are missing out on their normal summer activities and maybe feeling socially isolated and disconnected from their community. Encourage them to make the most of the situation and to use their social media activity to create awareness for local nonprofits that serve a greater good.

They can like, share, or comment on pages that are helping others. They can also share important information from health officials or other community organizations. For example, they can volunteer as digital advocates for the American Red Cross.


Raise money from family and friends for animal shelters

All over the country animal shelters are reporting massive upswings in the number of animals they’ve been able to place in foster homes. With more time spent at home, it can be a great time to introduce a new pet to your family with a little more flexibility to spend more time together and work out new routines. 

Maybe you have noticed friends who have adopted a “pandemic puppy.” Older dogs in shelters are also great candidates. This upsurge in pet ownership offers an opportunity for kids to volunteer and raise money to bring awareness and donations to their favorite animal shelters. We have highlighted a couple of ideas below:

  1. Kids can make and sell homemade dog treats to friends with pets.
  2. Kids can design and sell cute dog bandanas to your friends and family.
  3. Donate clean, used towels and blankets or cleaning supplies to an animal shelter.

You can help your kids by getting the word out to friends, neighbors, and family members. 


Final Thoughts

These volunteering ideas for kids and teens offer a safe and responsible way to lend a hand during the COVID-19 pandemic and to get them engaged in service projects that can be completed virtually or while sheltering in place. As you can imagine, helping others encourages your children to embrace gratitude and build empathy, which can offset some of the disappointments they may be experiencing right now. 

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