Choosing a Charity

Look at your list of things you might like to do. Check out some of our suggestions in the community opportunities section. Take a look at where Clay has helped. You can also check out some of the national charities we have listed on the right.

See if anything sounds right. What kind of time do you have available to devote to it? Will they let you do it at your age?

These sites are specially made to help kids find ways to help.

Volunteer match Put your zip code in and find a volunteer opportunity. They have special designations for kid friendly and teen friendly volunteer opportunities.

Idealist Site for kids and teens

Keep America Beautiful for kids

The Foundation Center

Kids Volunteer


The Guideposts Sweater Project

If you would like something to do in your spare time at home, one innovative way to volunteer is to get involved in The Guideposts Sweater Project , sponsored by Guideposts magazine . People around the country knit sweaters that are then sent to needy children around the world. This article gives you a description of the project and a pattern for the sweaters. Don't know how to knit? Not a problem, because the article also links to sites that teach you how!

Ronald McDonald House

There are Ronald McDonald Houses around the country - almost every major city has one. The idea behind all Ronald McDonald Houses is very important. When a child is seriously ill, the child is frequently treated for long periods of time at a hospital or university medical center. Many families have to travel long distances to get to the hospital, and "where to stay" becomes a problem. Staying at a hotel becomes extremely expensive, and a hotel can be a lonely and sterile place. Ronald McDonald Houses provide a low-cost "home-away-from-home" for parents and children to stay during treatment. Volunteers help prepare meals, talk to families, take care of the house and so on. The programs offered at The Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House are typical, and you can read about volunteer opportunities there. Then call the Ronald McDonald House in your area to find out more.

Special Olympics

As described on the web site for Special Olympics International, "Special Olympics is an international program of year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with mental retardation." The site also describes a wide variety of volunteer activities, including sports training, fund raising, administrative help, competition planning and staffing, etc. Look in the phone book for a local office or search the Special Olympics Web Site for more information.

Habitat for Humanities

Habitat for Humanities builds and gives houses to poor people in local communities. Volunteers not only help others, but can learn a great deal about building houses by getting involved. See the Habitat for Humanities web site for more information. Call the national office or your local office for information about volunteer programs in your area.

United Way

The United Way is a nationwide umbrella organization for thousands of charitable organizations. The United Way raises billions of dollars and distributes it to these charities. There are local United way affiliates across the country and they need volunteers. Contact your local affiliate for more information.

Red Cross

The American Red Cross helps people in emergencies - whether it's half a million disaster victims or one sick child who needs blood. Volunteer opportunities exist across the country. Contact your local Red Cross for more information.

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army provides social services, rehabilitation centers, disaster services, worship opportunities and character building groups and activities for all ages. Volunteer opportunities exist across the country.

Big Brothers/Big Sisters

Volunteer with the Big Brother/Big Sister program .
Be a role model for an at-risk child. Many children don't have positive mentors. Older teens who are responsible and trustworthy (and who can drive!) are often prime candidates.


Volunteer at the YMCA.
They serve a lot of children and could use the extra help in the various activities they provide. Perhaps you can offer lessons in swimming, music, coaching or art.