If you find yourself struggling to finish your service hours during the school year, summer is a great time to get them out of the way. Here is a list of great service opportunities to take advantage of during the 3 month long break.
APA is a great place to spend time with animals and knock out your service hours. If you’re of the ages between 12 and 15 you must have a parent volunteer with you, in which case both of you would have to fill out a volunteering form. Students ages 16-17 can volunteer on their own as long as they have completed a parent waiver granting you permission. You will need to attend a training session before starting your service work. For more information on dates and times, visit the Austin Pets Alive website and look under the “Volunteer” tab.
To get down and dirty, students 16 and older can work with the Austin Habitat for Humanity on a construction site to build a house for a family in need. This project takes about 10 weeks and the final product is very rewarding. If you are under the age of 16 there is still a way to get involved without participating in the building of a house. Check out austinhabitat.org/youth.
Food banks are always looking for volunteers year round. To help the Central Texas Food Bank, students under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult. The food bank has a variety of volunteer activities such as meal assembly, gardening, and working at a mobile food pantry. A calendar of weekly events is up on their site and regularly updated.
If you want to work on your plant growing skills, Urban Roots is a great place to get firsthand experience of working on a farm. You can sign up to volunteer with a group of 5 or more people or you can fly solo and work by yourself. Urban Roots also holds a paid summer internship program for students ages 14 to 17. You can visit urbanrootsatx.org/get-involved/youth/ for more information on how to get involved.
For those of you who love working with kids, or want to find out if you do, the Thinkery hosts a great summer volunteer program for teens ages 13 to 18. The children’s museum is a place of great fun where you will get to facilitate STEAM activities in the Thinkery’s galleries and refine the skills necessary to find meaningful employment in the future. Be sure to check out thinkeryaustin.org/volunteens/ for more information on how to sign up.
Youth2Seniors is a great program to participate in if you want to help the elderly community of Austin. The program is designed to teach the importance of volunteering and respect for seniors citizens. You may be given the chance to help coordinate programs, such as Lead a Bear H.U.G.s workshop, in which volunteers and seniors work to make a stuffed animals for underprivileged children in the community, or participate directly with a senior. You can find more information on their webpage, youth2seniors.org