Summer Vacation is the ideal time for middle and high school kids to volunteer. Volunteering is beneficial to teens in a number of ways. It helps them form positive friendships, build self-esteem, and develop creative problem-solving skills. Plus, whether they’re walking rescue dogs or growing a community garden, volunteer projects are fun and look great to college admissions. Short on ideas? Here are six Des Moines-area organizations that offer up volunteer fun in the sun this summer.
After School Arts Program (ASAP)
Let your creativity and compassion flow! ASAP connects Des Moines elementary and middle-school students with enriching arts experiences. ASAP succeeds with the help of dedicated volunteers and generous supporters. They offer many volunteer opportunities including Artist Assistants and Studio Assistants.
Animal Rescue League
Projects involving kittens and puppies are always popular! The ARL of Iowa needs dog walkers, kennel cleaners, and animal companions. It’s a great way to impact the lives of thousands of dogs, cats, horses, and small animals. Volunteers must be at least 10 years old. A volunteer younger than 16 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian volunteer. The most important skills you need to be a volunteer are love and respect for animals.
Food Bank of Iowa
The Food Bank of Iowa is a private, not-for-profit organization committed to the mission of alleviating hunger through food distribution, partnership and education. They have a number of volunteer positions available this summer. Food Drive Sorting, Madrid Garden Harvesting and Summer Food Services are just a few. Kids under 16 will need to be accompanied by an adult. Find volunteer opportunities on their Volunteer Hub.
Greater Des Moines Botanical Gardens
The Botanical Gardens in Des Moines is seeking summer volunteers interested in environmental sciences, speech/public speaking, theater/drama or a combination of all three to serve as Green Thumbs Teen Volunteers. Green Thumb Volunteers offers multiple opportunities throughout the gardens. Volunteers are selected through an application/recommendation process. To apply please use this link. This volunteer opportunity is for students ages 15 and older.
Most of the area’s public libraries offer teen volunteer clubs. The groups typically meet once a month and are a chance for tweens and teens to make a difference in their community, develop leadership skills, and have fun making memories and new friends. It’s also an opportunity for them to voice their opinion about programs, library materials, and ways to keep libraries “in the know”. Check out our article Book Nook: Have You Been to Your Local Central Iowa Library Lately? for a list of local libraries.
State Historical Museum
If your teen enjoys communicating with people of all ages, giving short presentations, working with groups, asking questions and giving answers, and pointing out items of interest in exhibits, they should consider volunteering at the State Historical Museum as a Museum Education Volunteer. High school students must be 16 or older and be willing to commit to once a week for at least 6 months. Students must also have a recommendation from a teacher. Training is provided. Find volunteer opportunities here.
Where does your tween or teen volunteer in the summer? Tell us in the comments below.