Teenagers who volunteer gain the skills necessary for the job market, such as leadership, communication, and decision-making skills, as well as dependability and time management. These teens tend to perform better academically and can build their resume for college and scholarship applications. In addition, volunteering in general means giving back to the community, helping those who need it. It’s also rewarding, as it reinforces a teen’s sense of self-worth and value, leading to mental and physical health.
Volunteering teaches social and networking skills and lets youth see how others experience the world. Volunteering broadens teenagers’ outlooks which results in tolerance, understanding, and empathy.
Ideas to Get You Started
Here are some local volunteer opportunities available, but understand this is just a sampling, and online research can help you find even more places to volunteer.
Dumb Friends League
The Dumb Friends League offers volunteer opportunities for kids and teens to help them understand the importance of the humane treatment of animals. For more information, visit Dumb Friends League.
Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado
Opportunities here inspire young people to care for our state’s outdoor spaces. Hands-on programs provide the appreciation of the wonders of nature and giving back to the community. These programs include environmental education, outdoor adventure, stewardship tasks, and leadership training. For more information, visit Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado.
Teens age 14 and older are encouraged to help out and get community service hours at the Denver YMCA. Volunteers assist with hands-on help by coaching, mentoring, and with assisting with programs, fundraisers and special events. Visit Denver YMCA.
Habitat for Humanity
Volunteers support programs that help build homes, save lives, and transform communities. In addition to gaining community service hours, volunteers can develop trade and teamwork skills with the construction crew as well as participate in projects during summer at the ReStore, where profits help build homes for more than 150 low-income families each year. Check for age requirements at Habitat for Humanity Denver.
Junior Achievement – Colorado
Junior Achievement provides programs for students which focus on entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and work readiness. Volunteer opportunities include visits to local schools to present short lessons and lead hands-on activities for elementary, middle, or high schools. For more information and age requirements, visit Junior Achievement Colorado.
Mile-High United Way
Volunteers for Mile-High United Way help give children a strong start, build reading skills, and ensure that all youth graduate from high school ready for post-secondary education or the workforce. Projects include a fair for homeless and at-risk individuals and families, along with the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot, holiday parties, power lunches, and more. For more details, visit Mile-High United Way.
Children’s Museum of Denver
Volunteers at the museum assist with the hop, skip, and a jump start race helping with set-up and tear down, registration, expo, 5K course monitoring, kid courses, the Toddler Trot, and infant crawl. For more details on age requirements and applications visit Children’s Museum of Denver.
Special Olympics of Colorado
No experience is required to volunteer at the Special Olympics Colorado. Volunteering here promotes unity among everyone, where teens can enjoy making posters, banners, encouraging fans, organizing pep rallies, and more. For more information, visit Special Olympics of Colorado.
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Volunteer placement at this museum is a selective process and requires a minimum of a one-year commitment. Volunteer positions include assistants to various collections, earth sciences programs, museum ambassadorships, exhibit facilitators, and kids’ programs. For more details on applying and age requirements, visit Denver Museum of Nature & Science.
Volunteers of America – Colorado Branch
Dedicated to supporting and empowering America’s most vulnerable groups, Volunteers of America help the hungry, the frail and elderly, people with disabilities, at-risk youth, homeless individuals, women in need, and veterans and their families. For more details and age requirements, visit Volunteers of American Colorado.
Boys & Girls Clubs Metro Denver
This organization provides young people with programs to help them achieve academic success, take charge of their health, and foster the skills needed to become leaders. Volunteer opportunities include coaching, academic tutoring, team-building activities, and more. For more information, visit Boys & Girls Clubs Metro Denver.
Project Angel Heart
This organization improves health outcomes in Colorado by providing home-delivered meals to men, women, and children living with life-threatening illnesses. Volunteers must make a six-month commitment for opportunities such as assisting in the kitchen, gardening, participating in community outreach and office work. For more information and details about age requirements, visit Project Angel Heart.
The Junior Volunteer Program encourages youth to provide services to patients and families at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Designed for teens ages 13-18, volunteers have the opportunity to prepare for a career in the medical field. For more detailed information, visit Children’s Hospital Colorado.
Denver Public Library
Volunteers age 12-18 can help with reading programs, gaming activities and shelving library materials. They may also be involved in helping people use the library catalog and Internet, assisting with the annual used-book sale, managing multiple technology requests and organizing manuscripts. For more details, visit Denver Public Library.
Denver Botanic Gardens
Teens are welcome to volunteer during the school year at the Botanic Gardens. Volunteers help the Gardens create new opportunities for teens, assist in the Children’s Garden, summer camps, and special events. Applications are requested. For more details, visit Denver Botanic Gardens.
Food Bank of the Rockies
During the academic school year, students can volunteer on Saturdays but these positions fill up quickly. Volunteers help with distribution, produce sorting, community kitchen work, assembly line box-filling duties, and item inspection. Check for age requirements and details at Food Bank of the Rockies
Urban Peak Denver
Urban Peak in Denver serves approximately 100 meals per month between its downtown drop-in center and its shelter location off South Broadway. Projects include serving meals, deep cleaning and painting, yard work, tutoring, and administrative support. For more information, visit Urban Peak Denver.