A Meaningful Summer for Teens
What are you doing this summer? What are your kids doing this summer?
These are the questions of the moment for teenagers and parents of teens. Because while everyone is craving a little down-time and a break from school and schedules, there are lots of summer hours to fill. And lots of opportunities to make those hours meaningful.
Houston is fortunate to be home to countless vibrant charitable organizations, and many of them depend on volunteers to keep them running. During the summer, there’s often a heightened need for volunteer help – think day camps serving kids out of school for summer, museums hosting kids on break and parks seeing increased visitors.
When you match the 300,000 or so teenaged kids in Houston with all the volunteer opportunities and needs, you’ve got one powerful team poised to make a tremendous difference – in our community, and in the lives of the teenagers learning to effect positive change.
Kinkaid junior Megan Frankel is an avid volunteer and wanted to make it easy for her peers to follow suit. So she created TeenVolunteerHouston.org, a website aggregating the volunteer needs of some 70 charitable organizations. “I do a lot of volunteering and have been for a lot of years,” Megan says. “I thought [the website] would be a great way for other teens to find a way to help out the community. It’s good to have all these organizations in one place.”
TeenVolunteerHouston.org summarizes the mission of each organization and gives contact information, making it easy for teens to find a project they’re passionate about and get involved. “There’s also a calendar section on the home page, where I will be adding more events as I hear about them,” Megan says. There are 15 categories that allow teens to narrow the list down to the community needs that most interest them, and there also is information on summer internship programs. Megan is currently working with teenagers around the state in hopes of expanding the website to include other Texas cities.
Megan says her favorite volunteer experiences have been with the Houston Food Bank, “because it’s fun to package food knowing how many people you’re helping,” and the VA Fisher House, “because the veterans are really engaging and appreciative. They even like to sing to us.” Megan has planned a pancake breakfast and bingo party as well as a cookout for veterans and their families at Fisher House.
Another great resource for teenagers wanting to serve the community – also started by a teen volunteer – is ServeforGood.org. On Claire Furse’s website (see Claire’s Buzz Kidz article, Helping Teens Help Others), teens can search volunteer opportunities based on their age, interests and availability.
For volunteers of all ages, VolunteerHouston.org is a comprehensive resource. With a mission to “connect individuals, groups and companies with non-profit agencies to transform the Greater Houston community through volunteerism,” Volunteer Houston has been connecting volunteers and agencies since 1974.
For more volunteer opportunities for teens, see Summer 2019 Teen Volunteer Opportunities by Pooja Salhotra.
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