Make Your Own Opportunity

You don't have to volunteer with an official organization. If you have an idea for how to help someone -- go for it. A few simple ways you can help are to babysit (for free), clean a neighbor's yard, shovel someone's driveway, offer to help your mom or dad with the laundry, wash and vacuum a sibling's car or help a friend study for a test.

Volunteer Programs for Kids

Finding volunteer programs for young adults is not as easy as it is for the 18-and-up crowd. There are more restrictions and guidelines for minors -- such as required parental permission. But the opportunities for kids are there. And if you know where to look, you'll find that volunteer programs exist for kids as young as 5 years old.

Two of the most respected community service programs for kids are the Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts of the USA. Both of these organizations have longstanding traditions of engaging their young members in volunteering activities. As a part of the Boy Scouts' promise to help others, troops regularly take part in community projects such as planting trees, recycling, picking up litter and assisting other organizations with events [sources: Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts].

Through the Girl Scouts, girls can take part in programs that teach them to recognize community needs and create their own volunteering opportunities. Girls as young as 5 years old can begin their scouting journey as "Daisies" and continue until 11th or 12th grade, when they become "Ambassadors" [source: Girl Scouts].

This next opportunity is great for kids who love animals but can't have a pet at home. Animal shelters often need volunteers who can provide their animals with basic care, love and attention. The animals in a shelter need more than clean cages and fresh food. In order to stay happy and healthy, dogs need walks and cats need to be brushed, petted and cuddled.

Want to know a few of the ways that volunteering can benefit the volunteers? Check out the next page.