A great way to dive into volunteering is to find something you love—your hours will go by quickly and successfully! Here are a few more tips to get started:
1. Determine your interest area(s).
Are there certain groups of people that you want to work with? Do you like working with young children or senior citizens? Do you like to work outside? Is there a cause you want to support? Is there a particular difference you want to make in this community?
2. Think about the types of activities that you enjoy.
Do you prefer to work with people or by yourself? Do you prefer structured or open settings? Are you looking for an ongoing opportunity or do you like to try new things?
3. Identify any specific skills you have to offer.
Do you have a talent that might be helpful to a nonprofit organization? Maybe you are particularly good at reading or math and could help through tutoring or reading to children. Or maybe you are really organized and could help with administrative tasks like filing or stuffing packets. If you are good with computers or spreadsheets, nonprofits may benefit from your talents in those areas as well. Do you like to assist with a special event? This may be another way for you to get involved.
4. Look for nonprofit organizations that match your interests or skills.
CUVolunteer.org has a great list of resources to help you learn more about local nonprofits. Hospitals, park districts, schools, and other civil service organizations like the United Way of Champaign are often in need of volunteers, too. You can also check out the CUScholars Facebook page to learn about new volunteer opportunities as they become available.
5. Contact the organization(s) you are interested in.
Ask organizations about the volunteering opportunities that they might have to offer for teens your age. If they have a location or a store, drop by and talk with someone about what it means to volunteer with them. You can also sign up for opportunities online.
Here are some examples of organizations and events where our CUScholars have helped out:
- Austin’s Day – Dance Marathon
- Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon
- U of I Day of Service Food Packaging Project
- Orpheum Children’s Museum
- Clark Lindsey Village
- Salt and Light Ministry
- Eastern Illinois Foodbank
- Illinois Open USA Swim Meet
- Universtiy YMCA Dump and Run
- The I.D.E.A. Store
- Champaign County Humane Society
- Urbana Park District
- Champaign Park District