EARLY YEARS: Many opportunities for teens wanting to volunteer this summer in Roanoke Valley

From food banks to local museums, help from youth volunteers is welcomed
Published: Jun. 28, 2023 at 5:47 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - As the saying goes, many hands make light work. And non-profits in our hometowns are always in need of an extra pair of hands.

For teens who have time to spare this summer, it’s a good match, even those as young as 14.

“I think it’s really interesting, because a lot of volunteer opportunities went away with the pandemic for everyone, and then with the workforce shortage I feel more employers as well as organizations are open minded about younger minors,” says Beth Bell, publisher of Macaroni Kid Roanoke.

For avid readers, Bell says teens can volunteer at libraries to help stock shelves and perform other asks.

She says there are volunteering options everywhere from food banks to animal shelters to local museums. Your teen can also get involved in research.

“Something that they might find interesting is volunteering for the research at Virginia Tech. I thought that was a really cool one. They need them as subjects, but they’ll learn a lot about the process and might inspire some future career opportunities and academics,” says Bell.

Find out what causes your kid is interested in, and go from there.

For those into the environment, Bell says they can help stencil the Roanoke County stormwater drain inlets

“They provide you with all the supplies. The Clean Valley council also offers opportunities. My son volunteered with them at events his senior year in high school,” says Bell.

Also, look no farther than helping your own neighbors.

The next door app can be a helpful resource.

“There’s so many people who just need help with simple tasks. You know, from gardening, weeding, in the fall there are leaves, things like that, walking their dog,” says Bell.

Along with making teens feel good about helping their communities, there are other benefits as well.

“They’ll be able to have referrals for jobs and scholarships and things like that, so it’s a really great way to make connections and I think it just gets them a deeper connection to their community so that they feel like they’re part of it and making a positive impact,” says Bell.

For more teen volunteering ideas, check out this Macaroni Kid Roanoke article.