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Summer 2019 Teen Volunteer Opportunities

Pooja Salhotra
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Step Healthy Day

Students from the Bauer Student Union at the University of Houston lead volunteer efforts with Memorial Hermann’s Step Healthy Day program.

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” 

It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of own lives, but it’s important to take a step back and ask ourselves this question every so often. Summer is right around the corner, and the time off from school can offer students some extra hours to do something for others and for the greater Houston community. Here, we’ve collected and categorized opportunities for teens to give back in a way that will be meaningful to them, depending on their interests and availability. 

Serving Animals: 

K-9 Angels Houston
An all-breed canine rescue organization established in May 2012  
1215 19th Street 
Houston, TX 77008
Volunteers are needed over the weekend when doors are open to the public for adoptions. Volunteers walk dogs, greet the public and help people find their match. To volunteer, start by completing the Online Volunteer Registration form. Volunteers must be 16 years of age, and a parent or guardian’s signature is required for 16-17 year old volunteers. You should hear back from the organization within a week, and then you can attend an orientation to learn more and schedule volunteer shifts.
Contact: volunteer@k-9angelsrescue.org 

SPCA
An animal protection organization 
7007 Old Katy Road
Houston, TX 77024
The SPCA needs volunteers to work with the animals and ensure the shelter runs smoothly. Volunteers must complete an application process and pay a non-refundable application fee of $40 for adults and $25 for youth (16-17 years old).  Volunteers must be able to commit to 8 hours a month on weekends or during the week for at least 6 months. Learn more about volunteering here.  

Contact: volunteer@houstonspca.org

BARC Animal Shelter & Adoptions
The City of Houston’s Animal Shelter and Adoption Facility 
3300 Carr Street
Houston, TX 77026
BARC is the only city shelter in Houston required by law to accept every animal that comes through its doors regardless of breed, temperament, health conditions and circumstance. Volunteers are needed to help with animal care, special events, beautification and administrative help. Volunteers must be 13 years or older, and volunteers 13-15 years old must volunteer with a parent or guardian at all times. Learn more about volunteering here. https://www.houstontx.gov/barc/BARC%20Volunteer%20Handbook%20MOST%20UTD....
Contact: barcvolunteers@houstontx.gov 

Wildlife Center of Texas
A subsidiary of the SPCA that cares for all Texas wildlife
7007 Old Katy Road 
Houston, TX 77024
The Wildlife Center of Texas cares for all injured, ill and orphaned wildlife through rehabilitation, public education and release. Volunteers are needed to help with direct animal care (animal handling, feeding, food preparation), community education and special events. Volunteers must be at least 16 years old. There is no minimum weekly hour requirement, but volunteers must commit to at least six hours during a six-month period. Learn more here.  
Contact: volunteer@wildlifecenteroftexas.org or call 713-861-9453.

Serving the Environment 

Buffalo Bayou Partnership
An organization dedicated to revitalizing and transforming Buffalo Bayou – Houston’s most significant natural resource
1019 Commerce Street
Houston, TX 77002
Volunteers ages 9 and up can help with weeding, picking up trash and debris and removing invasive plants. Those interested can sign up here. https://buffalobayou.org/get-involved/volunteer/ Buffalo Bayou Park also invites community members to help out on the third Saturday of each month through a coordinated volunteer activity. 
Contact: volunteer@buffalobayou.org or 713.752.0314 ext. 206

Memorial Park Conservancy
A group that restores, preserves and enhances Memorial Park
7575 N Picnic Lane
Houston, TX 77007
Memorial Park Conservancy has year-round opportunities to volunteer. Work includes invasive species management, trail work, native prairie plant grow-out, seed collection and more. Volunteers can also sign up for “Park Patrol” where they help lost park users and report maintenance and safety issues. Volunteers commit to 5 hours per month and a short training with MPC staff. Learn more about volunteering here.
Contact: volunteer@memorialparkconservancy.org or 713-863-8403 x3 

Serving Children

The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Houston
A youth-development organization that empowers low-income youth 
There are 24 different Boys and Girls Clubs in Houston. Headquarters are located at:
815 Crosby Street
Houston, TX 77019 
In the summer, volunteers are needed Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.,  but volunteer opportunities can be customized to your schedule. Volunteers help build healthy study habits in kids ages six and older, coach youth in structured team sports, help with programming activities for kids or provide technical support to staff. Volunteers must be 18 years or older. To volunteer, fill out the volunteer application and submit to twesson@bgch.org (Read more about The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Houston, and their 2019 Rise & Shine Breakfast, here.)
Contact: Tiffani Wesson twesson@bgcgh.org, 713-400-2949 

Books Between Kids  
An organization that builds home libraries for children in need 
9947 Harwin Dr., Suites B & C
Houston, TX 77036
Volunteers can sign up for two-hour shifts at the Books Between Kids Warehouse, helping with counting/inventorying donations, sorting books, boxing books and other projects as needed. Children as young as 5 are welcome, but all children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Find more information here.
Contact: volunteer@booksbetweenkids.org or call at 832-831-1402

Ronald McDonald House Houston
Offers a home away from home to families with seriously ill children being treated in Texas Medical Center member institutions
1907 Holcombe Blvd.
Houston, TX 77030

Volunteers ages 16 and up can serve as teen assistants during a summer camp at the Holcombe House. This role is ideal for creative, energetic individuals with experience in supervising children as this would entail interacting with kids 100 percent of the time. Volunteers who are at least 18 years old can sign up to volunteer for the “Regular Shift Program,” committing to at least two three-hour shifts per month for at least six months. Volunteers will help with activities such as serving snacks and curating a home-like environment for families, preparing bedrooms for family use by arranging linens and stocking toiletry items, checking families in and out of bedrooms and assisting with phone calls and tours. Find more information here.
Contact:
713-795-3594 or volunteer@rmhhouston.org 

Serving the Homeless 

Houston Food Bank
Food distribution organization servicing 18 counties in Southeast Texas. 
535 Portwall Street
Houston, TX 77029
The Houston Food Bank makes it easy to sign up for individual shifts of about four hours each. During your shift, you may help with sorting food, repacking dry food into family-sized bags, preparing hot meals for distribution. Kitchen volunteers must be 16 years or older. Children as young as six can volunteer in the Portwall Warehouse, but if they are under 16 they must be accompanied by an adult. Shifts for the next three months are listed here.
Contact: For Kitchen Volunteering, contact Kristian Fills at kfills@houstonfoodbank.org or 832-369-9391); for warehouse/other volunteering, call 713-547-8604.

Star of Hope
A service organization for homeless men, women and children
4848 Loop Central Drive 
Suite 500
Houston, TX 77081
Star of Hope provides a range of services for the homeless population in Houston, including education, career development, recovery from substance abuse, counseling and health clinics. There are many ways for teens to volunteer with Star of Hope, such as serving meals, writing notes of encouragement, hosting a donation drive, making hygiene kits, sorting donations, tutoring or babysitting children. Volunteers can sign up on a one-time basis or commit to serving over a longer period of time. Volunteers in high school or below must be accompanied by a parent, school sponsor, church pastor, etc. Find more information here.
Contact: 713-748-0700

Houston Habitat for Humanity
Empowers people by completing financial/home maintenance training and by building homes 
3750 N McCarty Street
Houston, TX 77029
Habitat for Humanity offers a range of volunteer opportunities, both in Houston and abroad. Volunteers can help at ReStores, home improvement stores and donation centers open to the public, help with home building, community projects, or participate in a mission trip to support the work of Habitat affiliates. Volunteers must be 16 years old. Find more information here.
Contact: 713-671-9993

The Beacon
A nonprofit that serves the Houston homeless community through daily services, civil legal aid, counseling and mentoring and access to housing
1212 Prairie Street
Houston, TX 77002
Volunteers are needed for morning and afternoon shifts at the Day Center (kitchen/laundry and intake/front desk. The minimum age to volunteer is 13, and volunteers under the age of 16 must have an adult with them. Find more information here.
Contact: Ron Marshall - rmarshall@beaconhomeless.org 

Emergency Aid Coalition
An interfaith organization that collaborates to provide temporary assistance in the form of food, clothing and other basic needs, with an emphasis on serving the working poor
5401 Fannin Street
Houston, TX 77004
Teens over the age of 16 can volunteer in a variety of roles during the week. They might help interview clients to determine eligibility to receive groceries and clothing, assist with data entry, help stock and organize canned ad dry goods, pack grocery items, serve lunches, make sandwiches, or help with the backpack and school supply distribution in early August. Teens under the age of 16 can help with a supervising adult. Find more information on volunteer opportunities here. Contact the volunteer coordinator to schedule a time to volunteer. 
Contact: Marian Bryant, Volunteer Coordinator, mbryant@eachouston.org or 713-522-0879

Serving Individuals with Disabilities and Special Needs 

Meals on Wheels Greater Houston
A community-based program that provides home-delivered meals to disabled adults and homebound clients over 60
3303 Main Street
Houston, TX 77002
The Meals on Wheels program at Interfaith Ministries is the largest such program in Texas, serving about 4,000 homebound seniors and persons with disabilities each month. Volunteers can help with meal delivery – picking up meals from a central location and hand-delivering them to the homes of seniors and persons with disabilities (deliveries are Monday-Friday and take about 1.5 hours to complete). Volunteers can also sign up for a coordinator shift, 9 a.m.-12 p.m., to coordinate meal distribution for volunteer drivers, or they can sign up to work with the warehouse crew (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-11 a.m. shift) to help organize and pack the meals. Volunteers use their own vehicles for deliveries.
To apply to volunteer, fill out this form. 
Contact: Cecilia at cpham@imgh.org

Lighthouse of Houston
A private, nonprofit education and service center dedicated to assisting blind and visually impaired people to live independently
3602 West Dallas Street
Houston, TX 77019 
Volunteers can assist in a variety of ways: providing transportation for clients’ medical appointments, taking residents grocery shopping, providing home visits where they would assist blind adults with tasks such as grocery shopping or mail reading, or calling home-bound clients to determine well-being and to provide friendship. Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age. 
Contact: Kristina Derrick, 713-284-8473 or kderrick@houstonlighthouse.org

The Center Houston
A nonprofit United Way agency that empowers individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live meaningful, dignified lives 
810 Marston Street
Houston, TX 77019 
The Center needs volunteers every day of the week and they will work to match your skill set to where it’s needed most. Opportunities include helping with arts and crafts activities, participating in game nights with the clients and working at the resident snack bar. Age requirements vary by activity so visit the website to learn more and to apply.
Contact: Natasha Turner, 713-525-8431

Friendship Circle

Pictured above are teen volunteers with Friendship Circle of Houston, a Jewish community organization that pairs teen volunteers with kids with disabilities for weekly playdates.

Friendship Circle of Houston
10101 Fondren Rd.
Suite #510
Houston, TX 77096
An organization that engages and supports childrens, teens and adults with disabilities 
Volunteers are needed in the summer for Friendship Circle’s Friends at Home program, where volunteers visit a special needs child at their home once a week to provide respite for the parents and fun for the child. Volunteers are also needed to assist with making art kits for the Friends at Home program. These kits will provide structured activities for volunteers to use during their home visits. Volunteers for both of these programs must be at least high-school aged (entering 9th grade and above), though children entering or in middle school can make the kits with a parent. If you cannot commit to volunteering on a weekly basis, you can also volunteer at Bowling Buddies, a monthly event where you will bowl with a special needs participant. More information can be found here.
Contact: Esti Lazarus at esti@friendshiphouston.com 

Health

Step Healthy Day
A bi-monthly event in which Memorial Hermann has partnered with community organizations to provide and offer residents free fitness activities and healthy food options 
Castillo Park
1275-1299 Henry Street
Houston, TX 77009
Moody Park
3725 Fulton Street
Houston, TX 77009
Step Healthy currently hosts this event every third Saturday (at Castillo Park Houston) and fourth Saturday (at Moody Park) of the month. The goal is to create safe public spaces to implement Food as Health and Exercise is Medicine programs. Volunteers are needed for three tasks: Registrations, Crowd Control, Farmers Market (Set-Up and Implementation) and will complete three hours of service per event. 
Contact: Jorge Sanchez, 832-788-8363, Jorge.Sanchez@memorialhermann.org

Aishel House
A Jewish residency that provides a place to live for those visiting the Texas Medical Center (Read more about this nonprofit in A House of Hope: Patients find a home at Aishel House by Cathy Gordon.)
1955 University Blvd.
Houston, TX 77030

Teens between 13 and 18 can sign up for the Junior Volunteer Program, committing to serving at least six times in the year. Volunteers can help with a range of services looking after children while their parents are in the hospital, picking up/dropping off patients at the airport, delivering a warm meal to a patient or going grocery shopping with a patient. Find more information here.  
Contact: 713-522-2004 or rochel@aishelhouse.org 

More Opportunities

Know of another volunteer opportunity for teens? Comment below. Also, see A Meaningful Summer for Teens by Andria Frankfort. Kinkaid junior Megan Frankel has created a website (TeenVolunteerHouston.org) aggregating the volunteer needs of approximately 70 charitable organizations.

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