by Milan Riley
While the state of California does not require high school students to complete a certain amount of volunteer hours to graduate, numerous schools either encourage it or make it mandatory for graduation. This applies to particular middle schools, as well. The reason for this is that volunteering helps communities, prepares students for their future jobs, and appeals to colleges.
What amount of volunteer hours is preferred by colleges? The majority of high schools with such a requirement ask students to complete at least 100 hours of volunteer work. Between 50 to 200 hours of volunteering shows commitment and experience. However, any less than 50 hours is not especially impressive and over 200 hours could seem excessive. Most sources state 100 hours is a good average.
If you’re looking to volunteer, either to help your community or because you’re looking to bolster your college application, here are some volunteer options:
1. Coastal/beach cleanups:
Picking up trash along the coast is a common form of volunteering. This activity helps the environment and gets you close to the beach! Heal The Bay is a good place to start: https://healthebay.org/beach-cleanups/ .
2. Red Cross:
For years, the Red Cross has helped victims of disasters and provided communities programs that help prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. Teen volunteer opportunities: https://www.redcross.org/volunteer/become-a-volunteer/youth-opportunities.html
3. Jr. Lifeguard:
Lifeguards could always use help making the waters safer for everyone. It’s physically engaging and a fun experience for strong swimmers. Lifeguards also supervise pool decks and teach groups how to swim. Check out the County of Los Angeles Junior Lifeguard program: https://fire.lacounty.gov/junior-lifeguard-program/ .
Los Angeles Public Libraries offer numerous volunteer options ranging from online teen council meetings, writing book reports, and in-person activities. If you enjoy books or representing other teens your age, check out their website for more details: https://volunteer.lapl.org/ .
Community parks offer volunteer positions in athletic programs, after school programs, and general park maintenance. Volunteers help out groundskeepers, keep hiking or equestrian trails functional, and guide visitors around the park. This website is looking for volunteers aged 14 or above to lend a hand at LA county parks: https://parks.lacounty.gov/volunteers/ .
There are so many more opportunities to volunteer in addition to those listed above. Not all volunteer work may count towards volunteer hours for schools, but it’s kind to just help out your community in your spare time! And as a bonus: studies show that volunteering helps to improve your mental and emotional health.
The articles below have lists of additional volunteer options, especially for teens: