5 Ways You Can Volunteer this December

One of the ways that teens can build up their resume, both for future job opportunities and for post-high school education applications, is to become a volunteer. In fact, volunteering has the potential to increase your odds of getting offered a job by 27% according to a study by the Corporation for National and Community Service.

First, volunteering allows you to practice skills you are learning in Bender Leadership Academy. It can help you establish a reputation for accountability, initiative, and leadership. Many companies and secondary education providers look for employees who give back to their communities. Volunteering can also help you to build up a network within your community. This network can provide leads to future opportunities or references for when you apply for a job or school.

So, what are some places who might be looking for volunteers during the holiday season?

Food Banks

Food banks are a great place to volunteer. Whether helping to run a donation drive, assisting with cooking, or serving guests, there are skills to be gained in organization and planning which will be marketable skills to build upon in the workplace and in school. Additionally, if interested in a career in culinary arts, this is a great way to get an introduction to understanding how to work with food. Depending on your interests, community kitchens, Meals on Wheels, food banks, food pantries, and various faith-based mission centers may have opportunities for teens to support their missions.

Libraries and Museums

Both libraries and museums frequently have special holiday events in which they look for volunteers of all ages to support. This could include setting up or staffing for special events, reading, creating displays, working with children, presenting information or leading demonstrations, and a variety of other duties. These activities provide opportunities for learning or expanding skills in public speaking, customer service, and organization. In the Pittsburgh area, the Carnegie Libraries, Museums, and Science Center offer programs for teens. These volunteer opportunities are great for people who have an interest in working with children, research, library science, event planning, or teaching.

Toy Drives and Gift Wrapping

There are multiple organizations sponsoring toy drives in and around our community. Frequently they need volunteers to help organize donations and possibly wrap gifts. In some instances, organizations may partner with local malls or stores to offer gift wrapping with proceeds supporting their organization. Skills such as time management and customer service can be gained through this type of volunteer work. These types of volunteer activities are great for people interested in careers related to planning, office administration, retail, and logistics and supply chain management.

Animal Shelters

The holiday season is a busy time for animal shelters. They may need help preparing kits for pet adoptions, caring for the animals, scheduling appointments, answering calls, or processing applications. This is a great opportunity to build skills in customer service, office management, and time management. Volunteering with animal shelters is a great way to build skills toward careers where you work with animals.

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes often have volunteer opportunities available to assist with holiday decorating and entertainment. Whether it is assisting with room or recreational space preparation, being a part of a choir, or assisting with games; nursing homes offer a great opportunity to gain skills in planning, customer service, and entertainment. Volunteering at nursing homes can lead to careers in the medical field, elder care services, event planning, or working as personal assistants.

Wherever you may volunteer, remember your commitment will make you stand out. This means being on time, being reliable, getting things done when you are there, and being friendly. Remember, the services you provide as a volunteer are critically important to these organizations. Treat your volunteer opportunities as opportunities to advance yourself and your community.

Join us on social media and share your holiday volunteer activities and success stories.