Getting to volunteer at the White House is a rare privilege.

©iStockphoto.com/KentWeakley

For many, getting to volunteer at the White House is a privilege and an honor. It isn't taken lightly, and due to high security measures, the opportunities are rare. Those who work inside the walls of the White House undergo extensive background checks and come highly recommended. As a result, you can't just walk up to the front gate and ask for an application to volunteer.

The White House internship program does provide young people with an opportunity to volunteer their time, but the requirements limit the general population's eligibility. Those applying to the internship program must be citizens of the United States, be at least 18 years old prior to the internship starting date and meet one of the following sets of criteria:

  • Active student enrolled in an undergraduate or a graduate program at a college, community college or university
  • Recent graduate (within the past two years) of an undergraduate or graduate program at a college, community college or university
  • Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces who is a high school graduate or GED recipient and has actively served sometime in the past two years

And meeting those requirements is just the first step. The next step involves completing a hefty application [source: White House]. But, what if you're not eligible for an internship? Can you still volunteer?

While your interest in volunteering is appreciated, the current administration suggests that you volunteer outside the White House. On April 21, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act into law giving millions of Americans the opportunity to serve their country. In a press release made on the same day, Obama stated,

"This landmark law recruits an army of 250,000 per year to engage in intensive service, and it focuses that work on today's challenges, including clean energy, education, health, veterans care, and economic opportunity. It creates new service opportunities for seniors, baby boomers, and young adults, and improves service learning in our schools."

If you're still determined to donate your time specifically to the White House, there is one other way to volunteer there. Every year at Christmas, the administration opens its doors to a group of volunteers who decorate the White House for the tens of thousands of visitors who take tours each holiday season. Read on to find out how you can help decorate the White House for Christmas.