Volunteer Opportunities: Children & Youth

Below, I have listed links to different organizations that allow children to volunteer. Most places that take adults will also take teens, but many times they won't take younger volunteers. I have tried to find as many places as I can that let children help out in some way or another. I hope you find my links helpful. And if you know of a place not listed here yet, please let me know by going to my Submit A New Site page.

Trick Or Treat for UNICEF

Trick Or Treat For UNICEF boxUNICEF is the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund.

UNICEF is the driving force that helps build a world where the rights of every child are realized. They have the global authority to influence decision-makers, and the variety of partners at grassroots level to turn the most innovative ideas into reality.  That makes them unique among world organizations, and unique among those working with the young.

They believe that nurturing and caring for children are the cornerstones of human progress. UNICEF was created with this purpose in mind – to work with others to overcome the obstacles that poverty, violence, disease and discrimination place in a child’s path. They believe that we can, together, advance the cause of humanity.

Trick Or Treat for UNICEF is an easy fundraiser that you can do at any age. Just visit businesses that have their doors open for children trick-or-treating and ask for spare change for UNICEF. My first year, I collected $82 in less than 2 hours!

No age requirement. (Younger children should have parents with them.)

UNICEF Home Page | Trick Or Treat | Create An Online Fundraising Page
My new Team UNICEF donation page on Crowdrise | Sign up for other UNICEF Volunteer Opportunities

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Wigs For Kids

Wigs For KidsWigs for Kids exists to help children who are struggling with the repercussions of hair loss caused by any condition, including burn accidents, cancer or alopecia. Wigs for Kids provides hair systems that allow a child to engage in normal activities without worrying about whether or not her hair is going to fall off. Children can even go swimming in a Wigs for Kids hair system. This organization requires 12-inch lengths of hair, but they don't accept gray or chemically treated hair.

Wigs for Kids works with hundreds of salons across the U.S. that offer free or discounted services for people who are donating hair to this worthy cause. Once you've gotten your hair cut and downloaded the necessary form, you can send your hair to:

Wigs for Kids - Hair Donation
24231 Center Ridge Road
Westlake, Ohio 44145

I donated 12 inches of my hair when I was 13. It felt really good to do this for someone who doesn't have hair.

Age Requirement: None. (But you do have to have the required amount of hair)

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Ronald McDonald House

Ronald McDonald House

The mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) is to create, find and support programs that directly improve the health and well being of children. Ronald McDonald Houses provide a “home away from home” for families with seriously ill children who travel far for medical attention, and support initiatives to improve pediatric health.

To accomplish all of this, they rely on the generosity of thousands of donors, the ingenuity of local volunteers, and the dedication of their staff.

I have made a few donations to the Ronald McDonald house locally and have made dinner for everyone staying there.

Age Requirement: None, but you do have to have adults volunteering with you.

Ronald Mcdonald House | Find one in Oregon |

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Children's Museums

Portland Children's Museum Check your local community to find out if they have a children's museum. They can use help at camps, mentoring younger kids, cleaning up after demonstrations and more.

The Portland Children's Museum offers a variety of rewarding volunteer opportunities. Are you energized around young children? Do you want to fan the flames of discovery that help curious children develop into lifelong learners? Do you love creative, open-ended play? Portland Children’s Museum may have just what you’re looking for, as we offer an array of volunteer opportunities for adults and youth. 

If you are interested in joining OMSI's volunteer team, they offer new volunteer orientations once a month. Most volunteer positions require a commitment of at least eight hours (two four-hour shifts) per month for at least nine months.

Age requirement for Portland Children's Museum: 14

Portland Children's Museum Youth Volunteer Opportunities
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Science And Technology Museums

ASTC Check your local community to find out if they have a science museum. They can use help at camps, mentoring younger kids, cleaning up after demonstrations and more.

The Oregon Museum Science Industry (OMSI) offers a variety of rewarding volunteer opportunities. From greeting visitors and answering questions, to presenting science demonstrations in our exhibit halls and labs, to helping behind the scenes in our administrative offices, volunteering at OMSI is a great way to get involved with one of the country's top ten science museums. As an OMSI volunteer, you'll gain new skills and experience, meet interesting people, and enjoy a fun, family-oriented atmosphere. An enthusiastic attitude is all you need!

If you are interested in joining OMSI's volunteer team, they offer new volunteer orientations once a month. Most volunteer positions require a commitment of at least eight hours (two four-hour shifts) per month for at least nine months.

Age requirement for OMSI: 15

Find A Science Center Near You | OMSI | Science Factory | Science Works
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The Children's Book Bank

ASTCThe Children’s Book Bank, founded by a former Teach for America math teacher, strives to improve the literacy skills of low-income children by giving them books of their own before they reach kindergarten.  To do this, The Children's Book Bank collects, repairs, and packages used books. The books are then made available to families in need - free of charge. This new organization is administrated by Dani Swope and is located in Portland, Oregon.

Volunteer Opportunities at The Children's Book Bank

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Hospital Volunteers

Doernbecher Children's HospitalSome hospitals will allow youth volunteers to help out on a regular basis. Others will allow specially pre-arranged visits. You will need to call your local hospital to find out for sure.

To become a regular volunteer at Doernbecher Children's Hospital, you are asked to make a minimum commitment of six months of service in most of their volunteer positions. A one-year commitment is required for volunteering in their Emergency Department.

Volunteers are a diverse group of individuals with varied interests, who choose to give of their time and energy to the patients and families at Doernbecher in many different ways. As a volunteer, you are screened for your interests and abilities, and matched with assignments that are well-suited for you.

Age Requirements: To volunteer at Doernbecher, you must be at least 16 years of age for all volunteer opportunities, except for Volunteer Guide. Guides must be at least 14 years of age and in high school. Contact your local hospital to find out their requirements.

Doernbecher Children's Hospital
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Christmas Shoebox Project

I learned this activity from my Camp Fire Leader but anyone can do it. We create shoeboxes full of practical gifts for local children living in shelters. Usually, the boxes include a little stuffed animal, books, pencils, notebooks, erasers, other school supplies, candy,toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, little toys such as bouncy balls, yoyos, plastic rings, parachute figures, etc. Then we would donate the boxes to homeless shelters and other places.

I love making those boxes, it really makes me feel good knowing a child in need will be getting something fun and useful for Christmas.

Christmas Shoebox Project | Camp Fire USA

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Kids And Cars

Kids And CarsEvery day, children are left unattended in or around vehicles – a danger most people greatly underestimate.  Hyperthermia, power window strangulations, and low-speed high severity crush injuries like backovers and frontovers typify what happens when children are left alone in or around motor vehicles on private property.  This emerging public health issue causes death and injury due to the dangerous social practice of leaving children unattended in or around vehicles.

KidsAndCars.org has worked diligently to document the dimensions of the problem through their unique data gathering techniques.  KidsAndCars.org focuses attention to these tragedies with education and public awareness campaigns to this previously unrecognized public safety problem. Successfully passing state laws, proposing Federal policy change and working towards the redesign of motor vehicles to make them safer for children are of paramount important to reduce or eliminate these predictable and preventable causes of injury and death.

KidsAndCars.org has conducted extensive research on how often children are injured, abducted, disabled, or killed because they are left unattended in or around vehicles.  To date the organization has captured information about almost 10,000 children whose lives have been endangered because they were left unattended in or around vehicles on private property.  KidsAndCars.org has documented over 2450 child deaths and knows these data vastly underestimate the true magnitude of this problem.  The statistics from this growing database is what is being used to create a social norm change in the United States so children will no longer be left unattended in or around motor vehicles. 

Kids and Cars
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Binky Patrol

Binky PatrolBinky Patrol's volunteers as well as chapter leaders make blankets which can be crocheted, sewn, knitted, tied, and even quilted for ill and traumatized children.

Mission Statement
Binky Patrol is devoted to reaching out to needy children, including HIV-positive, drug-addicted, neglected, abused, or children experiencing trauma in any way. Binky Patrol volunteers bring a caring, loving touch by creating and delivering handmade blankets, "binkies", to enrich the children's lives and to meet their most basic needs of warmth, security and comfort.

Binky Patrol's unique way of touching a child's life includes many mediums. To reach them, "binkies" are distributed through hospitals, shelters, and social service agencies. "Binkies" are to be given as gifts and are not recycled in the agencies.

Binky Patrol
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