Character education lessons, activities, and resources

Part of being a great citizen is serving your community. However, performing community service should not be about checking a box on a college application. Community service can be both beneficial to your community and personally fulfilling if you find the right opportunity. Work with your teen to answer the following questions to find great service opportunities in your community.

  • What are you passionate about?
    • Think about your interests and where your interests intersect within the community. If you love animals, think about working with an animal rescue league. If you love to work outside, maybe there is a museum that needs help managing their grounds. And so on. Once you have found several opportunities that align with your passions, move to the next step.
  • What needs does the organization have that you can support?
    • Reach out to each organization to see what needs they have. You may be passionate about working with kids, for example, but the organization where you could volunteer may not need support. Or, there could be rules and regulations about what kind of work volunteers can do. Sometimes there are also age restrictions, so be sure to ask those questions when looking to support an organization. Make sure their needs align with your interests and be realistic about how you can help. Remember, you are there to support the community or organization, not the other way around.
  • What benefit can you bring to the organization?
    • Be prepared to talk about what skills you can bring to a project. Try to find an organization that you are passionate about and has a need for your skills. Remember, often the biggest thing you can provide is your time.
  • How can volunteering at the organization benefit you?
    • While the purpose of community service to provide a benefit to others, there is certainly much one can gain personally from volunteering as well. It is not the organization’s responsibility to provide special training or opportunities. But you can look for learning opportunities, try new tasks, and find ways to develop new skills.
  • Commit
    • Most organizations will tell you that the biggest challenge in working with volunteers is finding people who are willing to commit. If you are unable to commit to a long-term volunteer engagement, there are countless opportunities to volunteer for short-term or one-off projects.