5 Organizations in Little Rock Where Kids Can Make a Difference
It can be hard for high school students to draft a strong resume, even for part-time jobs. Often extracurricular activities, studying and downtime with friends take the place of resume-worthy experiences. That's where volunteering can make a big difference.
Volunteering after school and on the weekends is the perfect way for your child to begin building solid experience that can lead to part-time jobs and even college scholarships. Plus, the lessons they'll learn while serving their community will help them develop social and leadership skills.
Ginni Bracy, the Volunteer Coordinator/Homeowner Selection Coordinator for Habitat for Humanity of Central Arkansas, is in charge of seeking out all of the volunteers for the organization’s various projects.
“I have seen how much the youth love to see a finished home that they have repaired and get to meet the homeowners,” she said.
While Habitat is just one avenue to get your kid involved, the positive impact volunteer experience can have on a college application and overall development are undeniable. Here are several organizations your child can get involved in within their community:
1. Friends of the Animal Village
For an animal-loving kid, a volunteer gig at the Friends of the Animal Village is a dream come true. From helping animals with social interaction by walking dogs and playing with cats, the jobs are so fun it won’t even feel like work.
Age requirements: Must be at least 16 years old unless a parent or legal guardian is present.
Address: 7401 Colonel Glenn Road, Little Rock
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Time commitment: The first step toward becoming a regular volunteer is to attend the first volunteer training class, "Red Level 1." After your mandatory "Red Level 1" training, there are three other classes volunteers may take in order to qualify for more advanced duties at the Village. Each requires 20 hours of service to advance to the next level.
Volunteer contact: VolunteersFAV@gmail.com
2. Habitat for Humanity
From helping on new home builds to helping spruce up neighborhoods, youth volunteers can help make a difference in central Arkansans’ lives. One program, the Neighborhood Revitalization Program, is a perfect fit for youth. Duties include minor exterior repairs on homes, paint and landscape, as well as building fences. These neighborhoods are revitalized into vibrant, safe and inviting places to live for current and future residents.
Age requirements: Must be 14 or older.
Address: 6700 South University Ave., Little Rock
Hours: Hours depend on the project.
Volunteer contact: Ginny Bracy, (501) 376-4434
3. Arkansas Foodbank
A meaningful way for youth to volunteer their time is to join the fight against hunger as a volunteer at the Arkansas Foodbank. Duties at the Foodbank vary from sorting cans and other food items, to putting labels on cans and stacking them in boxes. Most duties do require manual labor, which is something to keep in mind.
Age requirements: Volunteers must be at least 10 years old to volunteer in the warehouse on weekdays. Volunteers must be at least 8 years old to volunteer on Saturdays and during any after-hour volunteer opportunities. Volunteers 8-15 years old must be accompanied by an adult.
Address: 4301 W 65th St., Little Rock
Hours: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Volunteer contact: Amber Bryant, (501) 569-4320
4. Arkansas Children’s Hospital
The Arkansas Children's Junior Volunteer Program introduces high school students to the world of volunteering and health care careers. Junior volunteers gain new skills, meet new people, and help make a difference in the community. Volunteers go through an application process that includes a background check, letters of recommendation and other steps. The school year program is full but applications for the summer program will be available online Feb. 1, 2017.
Age requirements: Ages 14-18.
Address: 1 Children's Way, Little Rock
Volunteer contact: Sandy Burrow, (501) 364-1812
5. Red Cross
As a volunteer, youth can have a variety of options to serve. Volunteer duties range from visiting a neighbor’s home with a blanket to offering emergency disaster relief and a comforting hug with reassuring words and direction. They can provide administrative support from data entry, financial services and support for volunteers in the field.
Age requirements: Ages 14-17.
Address: 401 South Monroe, Little Rock
Hours: Monday to Thursday, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Friday to Sunday, 7:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Time commitment to volunteer: Time commitments vary according to the area in which you choose to volunteer, as well as the time you have to share.
Volunteer contact: (501) 748-1030