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14 teen volunteer opportunities

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Teen volunteers play cards with a couple at Hospice of the Valley. Photo courtesy of Hospice of the Valley.

Have a teen who needs something meaningful to do? Here are five ways teens can get involved, learn skills, build those college resumes and feel really great about how they’re spending their time.

ENGAGE with CHILDREN

UMOM New Day Center
The Read to Me project at UMOM Day Centers’ main campus welcomes volunteers as young as 8. Every Tuesday night volunteer readers work with children ages 4-12 years old. The children pick out and read a book with their age-appropriate volunteer partner. umom.org

EXPERIENCE a HEALTH or MEDICAL ENVIRONMENT

Hospice of the Valley
High school students in the HOV Teen Volunteer Program visit patients for two hours each week and brighten their days with conversation, reading, playing games, listening to music or sharing other activities of mutual interest. Participants must make a 12-month commitment to volunteering two hours per week (weekdays after school or weekends) and must complete 18 hours of orientation. hov.org

Phoenix Children’s Hospital
Teens ages 13 to 17 can participate in one of two half-day projects—designed to be fun—while helping children in the hospital. Teens ages 16 and older are eligible for Phoenix Children’s In-Hospital Volunteer Program year-round. phoenixchildrens.org

SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY

Apache Junction Public Library
Volunteers ages 12-17 will shelve books, “read” bookshelves (to ensure proper placement of books) and assist with programming. ajpl.org/volunteer-information

Cave Creek
Desert Foothills Library welcomes volunteers to help with shelving/shelf reading, special projects, arts and crafts, story time preparation and more. dfla.org/volunteer

Chandler Public Library
Volunteers ages 12-18 are welcome at Chandler’s four branch libraries. Teens help with clerical activities, shelving, crafts and other youth programs, the summer reading program, book reviews, special events and more. The online application urges teens to share any special skills, talents or interests they may have: language fluency, computer skills, artistic talents, etc. chandlerlibrary.org/volunteer-your-time

Glendale Public Library
Teen volunteers are welcome at Glendale’s three branch libraries. Volunteers must be at least 14 years old and must be willing to commit to a regular schedule of at least two hours per week for 12 weeks. Volunteer tasks vary by branch but include working as greeters or supporting the Youth Services Department or the Computer Help Desk. glendaleaz.com/teenlibrary/reallifestuff

Maricopa County Library District
This Valleywide library system is seeking volunteers who can shelve books and participate in other library tasks. Speaking multiple languages is a plus! Online application asks teens to write a short statement explaining why they wish to volunteer. They must also provide references. mcldaz.org/volunteer

Mesa Public Library
Ages 14 and older will assist on the book sales desk, setting up displays, getting new library materials ready for the shelves, and will assist with shelving and programs including the summer reading program. mesalibrary.org

Phoenix Public Library
The library accepts volunteers ages 12 to 17 year-round. A special eight-week program runs during the library’s annual Summer Reading Program. Volunteers register participants, explain the program, prepare crafts, assist with drop-in programming, set up and clean up for storytime, straighten shelves, alphabetize and shelve materials and help staff as needed. All volunteers must attend an orientation and training session at the beginning of the summer. phoenixpubliclibrary.org

Scottsdale Public Library
Volunteers ages 14-17 help with summer reading programs. Time slots are available throughout June and July. Apply online and be prepared to attend an orientation meeting from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 12, at Civic Center Library or 5:30-7 p.m. Wednesday, May 16 at Mustang Library. A parent or guardian must assist with the application and attend the orientation. scottsdsalelibrary.org/teen/volunteers

Tempe Public Library
Students in grades 6-12 can volunteer to help with computer support, shelving, cleaning/restocking books, storytime preparation and more. tempe.gov

TRY VARIOUS ACTIVITIES

HandsOn Greater Phoenix
Maintains a calendar of volunteer opportunities, many of which welcome teenagers. handsonphoenix.org

WORK with ANIMALS

Phoenix Zoo
The Zoo Teens program recruits students ages 14 to 17 (as of Sept. 1 of the application year) who are interested in animals, nature and conservation. Volunteers speak with guests at interpretive stations, provide mentoring and educational opportunities to Camp Zoo participants and are eligible to work with and learn from professional animal keepers. Applications (with two written recommendations) are accepted through May 31. The program runs September through May. phoenixzoo.org

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