100 Examples of Community Service Projects in 2023
June 21, 2023
Community service projects can look great on college applications. But the difference between a worthwhile community service project and a flimsy excuse to check a box is not only vast, but easily recognizable by college admissions officers. This is why we recommend taking some time to explore which community service projects exist in your community, and which of these community service projects for teens would make a good fit for you. Our list of 100 community service examples will be get you started.
What Makes a Community Service Project Worthwhile?
First, consider your point of view. If you’re a high school junior or senior, then nearly everything leading up to this point in your life has involved self-betterment. Anything from geometry class to football practice to choir will have focused on making you a mature thinker, a talented athlete, a star harmonizer and soloist. Community service, on the other hand, has a different goal in mind. It aims to help the community, at the expense of your own time, without offering any compensation.
To put it plainly, what makes a community service project “worthwhile” depends primarily on its importance to others. Still, that doesn’t mean that community service projects can’t contribute to your own learning, or feel rewarding. In fact, you should pick something you’ll enjoy doing, because having a genuine interest in the project will allow you to feel like a crucial participant, rather than a begrudging helper. No teen should feel bored or waste their time through community service projects.
In Service of Your Future
Choosing community service projects that relate to your interests will help you gain new skills and learn more about a subject in a “real world” context. These projects can allow you to meet people in the neighborhood you wouldn’t have met otherwise. Even if you don’t make new best friends, you’ll certainly form ‘weak-tie’ friendships, which research shows help increase an individual’s overall happiness and sense of belonging. By networking and expanding your list of contacts, you’ll also learn about jobs and opportunities in the field. Your community service project may even teach you something new about altruism, and the joy that comes from actively making the community a better place.
In college, your professors will expand your education by moving away from a model of learning for self-betterment, towards a vision of communal and global betterment. Ultimately, educators hope to form students into individual thinkers, doers, and leaders who’ll harness their talents to improve the lives of others. For this reason, community service projects strengthen your application by showing admissions officers that you already care about your impact on the wider world. It will send a signal that you are a student they’d like to teach.
A Few Tips
Many organizations accept free help if the offer presents itself. Yet some don’t respond to messages, or call you back promptly. If a second follow-up email doesn’t elicit any response, you may try visiting the site in person. Bring a CV, if you have one. A quick Internet search may reveal the organization’s operating hours or a new phone number.
Make sure to arrive on time and act responsibly. Be both dependable and flexible. Charities and organizations accomplish serious work, and ought to be taken seriously. Furthermore, do keep your own safety in mind. If the project you take on feels dangerous or uncomfortable, leave, and talk to a parent, teacher, or counselor about it.
Go with an open mind. And, consider going with a friend, so long as they also register or sign up properly. Bringing a buddy with similar interests can work as a boost both for the project, which will benefit from more helping hands and for yourself if you’re nervous about trying something new.
100 Examples of Community Service Projects
As you read through the following list, eliminate the ideas that don’t appeal to you, as well as ones that aren’t relevant to your community. Take note of the ideas that sound promising.
Community Service Examples: Youth & Education
- Tutor younger students in an after-school program.
- Volunteer at a local daycare or preschool.
- Volunteer at a summer camp.
- Read stories and articles to someone who is visually impaired.
- Join and volunteer at one of these literacy organizations.
- Volunteer at your local library, reading to school groups and re-shelving books.
- Give free music lessons to kids in your neighborhood.
- Sponsor a student from a foreign country through an educational exchange program.
- Train to volunteer as a teen crisis counselor.
- Advocate for more playgrounds in the community.
- Donate textbooks to a school you didn’t attend.
- Tutor and teach English to ESL students.
- Teach a course on computer literacy to students without access to computers.
Community Service Project Ideas: Environment
- Host a clean-up of your local park or hiking trail.
- Join and work at a community garden.
- Create a composting center in your neighborhood, and host how-to workshops.
- Create a Christmas tree recycling program.
- Join a tree-planting organization working to reduce greenhouse gases.
- Organize a recycling and composting workshop to teach upcycling habits.
- Help maintain the walking trails in local and national parks.
- Host a clean-up of a nearby river, lake, or beach.
- Create a community pledge to boycott the consumption and use of toxic products.
- Organize a carpooling network to reduce car emissions.
- Join an organization that plants and protects endemic species.
- Advocate for more bike lanes and improved public transport.
- Volunteer at a nature center to teach visitors about the local environment.
- Volunteer at a bird sanctuary.
- Host a workshop on how to recycle and donate batteries and electronics.
- Volunteer at a botanical garden.
- Organize and lead nature walks.
- Organize a group to plant flowers and seeds in bare public spaces.
Community Service Project Ideas: Food & Shelter
- Cook and distribute food at a soup kitchen.
- Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.
- Babysit (for free) for a neighborhood family in need.
- Prepare home-cooked meals for the residents of a local homeless shelter.
- Help organize and sort drop-offs at Goodwill and other donation centers.
- Babysit children while their parents look for jobs.
- Visit, entertain, and tutor children in a homeless shelter.
- Set up a free food stand in a city food desert.
- Host a farm-to-table cooking class for youth.
Community Service Project Ideas: Seniors
- Volunteer at a nursing home; converse, play games, and read with residents.
- Help drive seniors to doctor’s appointments and community and faith centers.
- Check-in on elderly neighbors, bringing groceries and medication.
- In extreme weather, check that elderly neighbors have functioning heaters, fans, etc.
- Teach computer skills to the elderly. Help them avoid computer viruses and spam.
- Help an elderly neighbor maintain their yard or garden. Rake leaves, pull weeds, plant flowers, shovel snow.
- Help an elderly neighbor clean their house.
- Cook with an elderly neighbor, or bring over homemade treats.
- Participate in a holiday meal for senior citizens.
- Pick a senior buddy and keep in touch through letters or email.
Community Service Examples: Animals
- Volunteer at an animal shelter and care for cats, rabbits, dogs, and guinea pigs.
- Organize a community bird feeder workshop.
- Host a workshop on how to install flowering planters for pollinators.
- Foster animals that shelters can’t accept.
- Organize a group committed to feeding, neutering, and monitoring strays.
Health & Wellness
- Get involved in your local Red Cross.
- Participate in a community blood drive.
- Volunteer with a local health clinic to immunize children from diseases.
- Assist your local hospital by delivering gifts, clothes, and meals to patients.
- Organize free public outdoor exercise and meditation classes
Community Service Projects for Teens: Faith
- Participate as a counselor or volunteer in a religious camp.
- Volunteer as a reader in a spiritual center.
- Participate in an inclusive interfaith festival.
Examples: Culture, Community, and Civil Duty
- Volunteer at your local archives or folklife center.
- Volunteer at a voting center and help register people to vote.
- Join a group repairing and renovating public spaces.
- Repaint community fences, park benches, bus stops, etc. (with permission).
- Campaign for new playground equipment.
- Participate in or help organize a community play or variety show.
- Host or participate in a community concert.
- Create or join a group to clean up public spaces (parking lots, roads, boardwalks, etc.).
- Create a neighborhood program to welcome and help migrant families.
- Petition your town to build more drinking fountains and public restrooms.
- Volunteer to clean up (and recycle) after a community event.
- Clean up after holiday festivals and parades.
- Clean up after a natural disaster.
- Volunteer at a local museum by giving tours.
Community Service Projects for Teens: Safety
- Take a junior lifeguarding course and volunteer at your local pool, lake, or beach.
- Host self-defense workshops.
- Organize drug-free workshops and awareness campaigns.
- Volunteer for a hotline, bringing help to people in emergencies.
- Volunteer as a crosswalk monitor for your nearby elementary school.
Community Service Project Ideas: Sports
- Coach or assist a community or youth sports team.
- Help out at the refreshment and first-aid stands of local races.
- Organize pick-up games for marginalized community members.
- Run (or walk, or skip…) in a charity race.
- Volunteer at the nearest local Special Olympics.
Community Service Project Ideas: Collections
- Donate old and unused toys to charity drives.
- Collect clothes, makeup, and perfume to donate to a women’s center.
- Create collections of hygiene products to donate to homeless shelters.
- Host a winter clothes drive and give donations to a homeless shelter or families in need.
- Collect textbooks for schools, libraries, and shelters.
- Donate books to your local used book store and libraries.
- Collect working electronics for people in homeless shelters.
- Collect sports gear and shoes to donate to community sports programs.
- Donate canned food and non-perishables to a food bank.
- Donate blankets, clothes, and sleeping bags to a homeless shelter.
Community Service Project Ideas: Ways to Raise Money for Your Preferred Charity
- Ask family and friends for charity donations as birthday presents.
- Set up a neighborhood car wash, with all profits going to charity.
- Host a bake sale.
Once you’ve made your list of preferable community service projects, do a little digging to see which opportunities exist in your community. This will narrow down your list some more. Then, contact one or two organizations, and mention your availability.
If you plan to organize or host a community service project for teens, you may want to consider getting an adult chaperone on board, who can handle crisis management situations. From there, you’ll need to contact relevant city/town officials, as well as charities you wish to collaborate with. Consider how long the project will take, the main goals, how many volunteers you’ll need, and how you’ll promote the community service project.