Community service is a great asset that can provide opportunities to strengthen your resume and opens you up to new experiences, interests, or communities that may shape your ultimate career goals. But, where do we start? It can be overwhelming having to find the right resources, not knowing the best opportunities for yourself or having to pick one service opportunity out of thousands. Well, you’ve come to the right place.
This article will help guide you on where to start with community service. Not only will we talk about how to get community service hours, but we will discuss how to get community service hours fast. By the end of this article, you should know what community service is, why it’s important, where to find community service hours online or near your community, and have examples of community service for students to choose from.
What is Community Service?
Most high schools in the U.S. make community service mandatory, so you might have a general idea on what community service is about.
But, we want to give you a better overview to optimize your opportunities as much as possible!
Community service is work that is carried out for the benefits of other people or groups in a community. It is voluntary work, so you don’t get any form of payment (other than seeing a community reap the benefits). It’s still a professional experience you can add to your resume and write about in your college applications.
Why is Community Service Important?
Community service is important because it is a great way to help causes or issues that you care about. You’re also gaining skills, experiences, and networks along the way.
What can you get out of doing community service?
Some of the benefits to community service include:
- Helps you gain real-world experiences that may alter your worldview
- Helps you develop new skills, such as leadership, while helping others; these happen to be skills employers look for in their candidates.
- Helps to make connections with new friends, new colleagues who may share similar passions as yourself, or even a new connection for a great recommendation letter writer!
- Gives you the opportunity to have a powerful impact on your community
- Gives you the opportunity to learn about different careers; maybe you’ll find that you actually really enjoy working for a hospital or animal shelter!
- Helps make your college application more competitive and stand out more than others
- Provides personal growth; in becoming more organized and compassionate, you’ll develop qualities that can be applied in professional settings.
Is Community Service Required to Graduate?
Many high school students believe that there is a requirement for community service in order to graduate.
But, community service is not typically required to graduate; however, it is strongly recommended for college.
How many community service hours would we recommend?
Colleges look for students who are engaged with their community. Anything between 50 to 200 hours of community service during high school can make your application look impressive. Don’t forget about all the benefits you’ll gain from committing this time to community service.
What are Some of the Most Common Places to Get Community Service Hours?
Now you have a good overview of what community service is and how it can help you.
You might be wondering how to get community service hours fast.
Let’s list some of the most common places to get community service hours. You’ll find that there are fast and easy ways to find community service hours right outside your neighborhood.
Below, we provide examples of community service for students with ideas on what you might do in these places.
Schools. Volunteer at your local schools! You can tutor children after school, help plant a school garden for a classroom, help coach sports, or help with donations of school supplies.
Community Centers. Community centers, like the YMCA or Boys and Girls Club, are great sources to get your hours in with a variety of programs. YMCA community service can include activities like volunteering to help veterans, help coach sports teams or teach classes for sports, or raise funds for the Y. Search online for your local YCMA center for volunteer opportunities.
Hospitals. Hospitals can sound intimidating, but you won’t start off with too much responsibility as a volunteer. Volunteering at hospitals could include administrative work, helping patients get to their rooms, serving food for patients, working with children, or fundraisers to raise donations or funds for particular causes.
Animal Shelters. Animal shelters need a lot of help for a lot of animals who need to find homes! Here, you can help feed animals, clean cages, walk dogs, assist the veterinarian, process paperwork, or interview people who are interested in adopting. Search for your local animal shelters online for an easy way to find ways on how you can help.
Feeding America. Feeding America is a national food bank organization that focuses on making sure that no one goes hungry. Volunteers are a big part of this movement, making up a large portion of their employees. Here, you can assist with meal preparations, organizing food drives, sorting donations, food distribution, or help with fundraisers to collect more resources.
Nursing home or retirement center. Another option might be your local nursing home or residential centers. You can commit time to visit residents to keep them company, host events like bingo nights, help deliver meals to senior citizens, or even be assigned as a driver to help get residents to their appointments or other daily activities.
Faith-based organizations. Religious institutions always have opportunities for community service. You can help collect donations for the community, build houses, collect donations for other causes that the organization is in support of, teach a religion class, assist with mission trips, or even help with Sunday school activities, like tutoring.
Homeless shelter. You can volunteer at a soup kitchen and help with serving or preparing food, help collect donations for clothes or other house supplies that might be needed by the homeless, or help prepare first-aid kits for the homeless.
Libraries. Volunteer at your local library! Library community service can be ideal for someone who loves to read. Library community service can include activities like helping or organizing book donations, assisting with administrative tasks, greeting and assisting patrons, participating in library reading programs, or helping with organization of library materials.
Museums. If you like a specific museum, you can choose to volunteer with one that catches your interest. Here, you can volunteer to lead museum tours, assist with special exhibits or events, catalog records or specimens, or help with processing paperwork and other administrative tasks.
Parks or Natural Areas. This one can range from national parks or state parks to your neighborhood playground across the street. Community service with parks can include activities like helping with gardening projects, designing renovations, collecting data on wildlife, collecting trash, planting new trees and plants, creating new sidewalks, or other activities to ensure the safety and protect of the park’s resources.
All these examples are fast and easy ways to get community service hours because they are right within your reach.
If you want to see more examples of community service for students, visit this resource.
Can You Get Community Service Hours Online?
Community service hours online are the same as community service, but it is done online over the internet, computer, or other technology network. Sometimes, people refer to community service hours online as crowdsourcing.
Activities typically include translating documents, designing databases, editing materials, designing web pages, or transcribing documents.
How can you get community service hours online?
Simply search websites that offer virtual volunteering opportunities. One important detail to remember is that you need to make sure you log and document all your work because most of these sources do not log volunteer hours for you.
Not sure where to search?
Here are some examples of websites that offer community service hours online.
Code for America – offers volunteer opportunities to help design websites or assist with software development.
Zooniverse– offers volunteer opportunities to transcribe historical documents or other scanned documents.
Bookshare.org – offers opportunities to assist scanning books for people with reading disabilities.
TeenCentral.Net – offers volunteer opportunities to help counsel teens in crisis with a nonprofit, Kids Peace.
Check out the following resources to start finding volunteer opportunities online today.
This website provides a more comprehensive list of sources to find opportunities for community service online.
The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook provides a step by step approach to virtual volunteering for community service hours online.
What are Some Unconventional Community Service Ideas for Kids and Students?
Community service can also be done on your own. Unconventional community service ideas for kids and students can be as fast and easy as donating your old clothes (that are in decent condition) to a local shelter.
Here is a list of unconventional community service ideas to get hours fast.
You can pick up cans of food or other non-perishable items to donate to a local food bank.
Look through your closet. See any old toys or other items that you’ve outgrown? Collect those and donate them to a foster care organization or local women and children shelter.
Do you ever see any trash in your neighborhood park? Pick it up! You can impact your community by cleaning the environment. If you want a team, check for events hosted with hiking trail associations or local conversation areas.
Ask your neighbor or elderly resident in the neighborhood if they need help with any housework, such as snow shoveling, raking leaves, or groceries.
If you feel passionate about a specific cause, create or join a campaign to help raise awareness in your community.
Donate used cell phones to deployed troops through Cell Phones for Soldiers.
Volunteer for a run/hike/walk/ride for event, like Relay for Life or Hike for Mental Health.
Participate in an event for Earth Day (April 22).
Host a UNICEF Fundraiser or event.
If you’re musically inclined, you can volunteer to provide music lessons. If you’re artistic, you can use your skills to volunteer for knitting class. Think about your skills, and what you can bring to a community or group.
If you’re still a kid, don’t think you’re too young to be volunteering. You can easily collect materials on your own by asking your parents, church, or school for assistance. They will surely help you collect non-perishable items if it is for a good cause.
What are the Best Resources to Find Community Service Opportunities Near Me?
You might be feeling overwhelmed. As you can tell, there are thousands of resources to find community service opportunities, if not more.
What about finding community service opportunities near me?
You might think this as an easier approach to get started on community service.
We want to help you feel less overwhelmed by providing you with the best resources to guide your searches to find community service opportunities nearby.
First, a few recommendations:
We strongly recommend doing a quick internet search online to find more variety of volunteer opportunities, especially if you have a specific cause in mind. For instance, if you are interested in non-profit community service, you can google “non-profit community service near me” to get an initial list of ideas.
Make sure you set time apart to search for opportunities. Block off 30 minutes of your Saturday at the library to note community service opportunities near your location. Commitment and consistency are key to landing your best opportunity!
Be proactive. Reach out to non-profits or other community organizations in your area to ask about any opportunities for community service. They need your help. And, you can certainly use the benefits of community service we discussed earlier in this article.
Now, what are the best resources to start searching for community service near you today?
Idealist.org is an excellent website to find opportunities for community service across the country. You can find options for remote or on-site opportunities. Take advantage of this one because you can even filter it by location, the skills you’re looking for, and the issue/area you are most interested in. This will help tailor your options.
All for Good is another excellent resource that provides volunteer projects near you. It is supported by a non-profit, Points of Light, and is designed to be a website for volunteerism and community engagement. Simply search under “find ways to volunteer,” enter your location, and start searching for community service near you!
Volunteermatch.org. is one of the largest networks in the nonprofit world. If you are looking for non-profit community service near you, then this is what you want to use. This website matches you to non-profits that are needing volunteers with your passions. They have a wide range of sectors to choose from, ranging from non-profits in human rights to non-profits in computers and technology. Remember that this is an opportunity to be exposed to diverse careers, so try out something new to see how you might like it as a career.
Create the Good is a similar website as volunteermatch.org. It has over 7,000 volunteer opportunities on the network. It also has a search tool that helps you find community service near you. It offers the same advantages as all the other sites; but, just in case you can’t find the right one using the other search tools, you have another option.
What are some additional tips on how to get community service hours fast?
First, if you want to get community service hours fast, it’s a lot easier if you have a good network or relationship with people who work in non-profits or other community-based organizations. Make sure to develop good relationships with places you have volunteered with in the past.
Try going to local events in your area to scope out what type of organizations are around your community. Sometimes, there are local community events, music shows, or farmer’s markets that might present an ideal community to see what other sources are out there.
Diversify your sources. There is always a need for more help, particularly for human services; so, try diversifying your sources. You can commit time to a homeless shelter in the morning, an animal shelter in the afternoon, and collect clothing and old toys from your home on your own time. Remember to log all your hard work, it will add up.
Wrapping Things Up: Getting Community Service Hours Fast
There is never a shortage of help needed; volunteers are needed every day. At this point, you’ve already learned more about why community service is important, along with strategies on how to get community hours fast and online. Use the examples of community service for students that we shared to build your own plan.
The most important thing to remember is that you can get community service hours easily, but it will take time and commitment. If you keep the benefits of community service in mind, you’ll find that these efforts are worthwhile and crucial to shaping your ultimate career interests and goals.
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to also check out our other high school study tips.
You may also like our post on how to be a successful student.