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Tips and Tricks for Youth Volunteers

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May 8, 2015
by Serve Rhode Island
Q:    I know I want to volunteer, but I don't know where to begin - how do I get started?
 
A1:     Consider Your Passion
 
Everyone has a passion. Whether it be an activity, a subject of study, or a certain cause, we each have something that drives us.  In choosing a volunteer opportunity, consider your interests - working on something that you care about makes the experience more rewarding.
 
A2:    Do Some Research
 
Once you've determined what you are interested in, it's time to do some research.  Find out which agencies/groups in your community do work that is relevant to your passion.  You can use the Serve Rhode Island website to help you in your search.
 
In addition to searching by category, you can also search by keyword, zipcode, population you'd like to work with (i.e. the elderly, children, etc.).
 
 
A3:    Ask Questions
 
Once you have found a relevant organization (there may be more than one), begin to ask the questions below:
 
*What project could I help them with? (items, phone calls, cleaning, etc.)
*Do they have a formal process to become a volunteer? If so, what are the necessary steps?
 
You can likely find the answers to these questions by visiting the agency's website, or calling and speaking with their volunteer coordinator.
 
Q:    What if I can't find an agency that relates to my passion, or the relevant agencies aren't offering the work I'm interested in?
 
A:      Design Your Own Project
 
Can't find an agency that works on something related to your passion?  Or did you find a relevant agency, but they don't have a project that fits your project goals?  Not a problem - you can design your own project!
 
generationOn is a great resource on how to design your own project.
 
Q:    I already have homework and sports that take up my afternoons, evenings and most weekends - how can I find time to volunteer?
 
There are various ways that you can get involved and volunteer.  If you don't have time to volunteer each week, there are one-time community events that rely upon volunteers to be successful.  Road races, tournaments, concerts, Waterfire - most of these community events would not be possible without volunteers.  Pick a convenient community event each month, and it will give you a chance to be involved without interfering with your schedule.
 
If you have questions or would like help finding an opportunity, call Serve Rhode Island at 401-331-2298 or email volunteer@serverhodeisland.org and we'd be happy to help you find an opportunity!