Last summer my daughter’s confidence soared after she taught swim lessons through our local Red Cross Learn to Swim Program.
Volunteering felt good, she said, and it was on her MUST-do list for this summer when again she joined dozens of other tweens and teens for two weeks to teach basic and intermediate swimming for free to children in our community.
And, in case you are wondering, she is NOT a swim monster, but an average swimmer who enjoys helping out.
Like other families, we want our kids to be comfortable as a volunteer and understand how to mesh their interests with helping others, yet we have had a hard time finding organizations which allow tweens to join.
So we are always on the lookout for those rare tween-friendly volunteer opportunities, especially summer-focused ones since summertime activities are much easier on our family schedule.
Two places which we found are usually open to younger volunteers are hospitals and libraries. Reading buddy programs, like this hospital one, ask volunteers to read to children while they wait for treatment or test results. (Note: The age listed in that specific program is 14 but we’ve found many times they will make exceptions if the tween appears mature enough. Not always, but usually.)
We’ve also found opportunities at our local library for our 11-year-old to read aloud to little children while the older siblings and parents attend a library program.
One program we haven’t tried, but intend to, is to Collect Suitcases for Foster Children which I found on this Volunteer Guide website. Since my children know families who accept foster children, this was an idea which appealed to them immediately.