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SERVE FOR GOOD Claire Furse, a senior at St. John’s School, created a website with more than 120 volunteer opportunities for teens. (Photo: AMV Photography)
If you’re under 18, you may have struggled to find a volunteer project that you’re really excited about. When I became a community-service officer at my high school, I needed to find a service project that the school didn’t already offer, but soon realized this was a surprisingly difficult task. Houston has great charities that are known to welcome students, such as the Houston Food Bank, Kids’ Meals and the Star of Hope, but I knew there must be many other interesting projects out there. I began researching to see what other service opportunities I could find. To my surprise, I learned that hundreds of Houston charities would love help from teens and younger kids.
More than 200,000 energetic teenagers live in Houston, so we have the potential to make a major impact on our city. I decided to help other students volunteer more easily by creating a website called ServeForGood.org, a database featuring more than 120 charities that welcome young volunteers. You can browse the whole list, or search the charities by age requirement, by mission – such as benefiting animals or the elderly – or by your schedule. The site also features videos and lots of photos. Creating ServeForGood.org has definitely been a challenge, as I was unfamiliar with coding at first, but I’ve learned so much and would encourage anyone interested to try creating their own site.
While creating ServeForGood.org, I’ve discovered wonderful charities like PAIR (Partnership for the Advancement and Immersion of Refugees), which I volunteer for every week by tutoring refugee middle school students. But there’s something for every interest – whether it’s planting cord grass at the beach with the Galveston Bay Foundation or throwing a party for veterans and their families at Fisher House. I hope the site helps you find what sparks your curiosity.
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