- Think about how you want to help. What are your interests? Do you like being indoors or outside? What ages do you like being with? Older? Younger? Do you have a specific talent or skill to contribute?
- Consider how much time you want to spend on service. Once a week? Once a month? It’s okay to start with something small to see if you like it. If you don’t end up liking it, don’t be discouraged. Sometimes it takes time and patience to find a good fit.
- Talk to an adult about a plan. Will you need supplies? A ride somewhere? Or, if your school requires community service, there’s probably a service director or coordinator who can help you find a place. Adults can also share their own experiences and give you great suggestions.
- Ask questions. Once you have an organization in mind, call and ask for the volunteer coordinator. This person probably doesn’t have much time to sit by the phone, so be prepared to leave a detailed message. When you do make contact, have your questions prepared ahead of time, perhaps along the lines of the “four W’s”:
- Who do they need for the work they do?
- What kind of work is it?
- When do they need help?
- Where would you be expected to do this work?
- Check it out. You’re not obligated to volunteer just because you called to ask about the opportunities. Before committing, check with a parent, teacher, or other adult who can help you evaluate the information you’ve received. Another good idea is to make an appointment to drop by the site to see for yourself if you would feel comfortable volunteering there: can you picture yourself in that setting? If it seems right to you, chances are you have found a good fit!
For more information check out ChildrenForChildren.org.