Skip to Main Content

New Year, New You by Giving Back!

High school is a time for learning, growing, and understanding yourself. One way to do this is to give your time and talents to make our world a better place. Volunteering is an excellent way to make new friends, build your college resume, and help others, all while trying new things.  

If volunteering is new to you, let’s look at some opportunities where helping a few hours a week or month can make a difference for you and others.  

  • Working with students – Many schools offer opportunities to assist younger students or even peers with their homework or class subjects. You may be good at math or science and can ask your teacher if there are students who need peer tutoring, or the school librarian may be able to match you with younger students who are learning to read books.  
  • Help your school – Look for opportunities to help at your school. Your school may need help to paint a classroom, plant flowers, or organize the library. These events are usually only a few hours but can maximize the impact at your school. If cleaning is not something you want to try, ask your favorite teacher if they need any help preparing their classroom or lessons.  
  • Protect animals – Are you an animal lover? Communities in the United States value animals, and there are many organizations that allow young people to help save, protect, and care for lost, injured, or abandoned animals. Local animal rescue organizations allow volunteers to walk and feed animals. You can volunteer with community agencies that care for the environment, which protect our wildlife, like planting a butterfly garden or cleaning up trash in local parks. 
  • Help disadvantaged people – There are less fortunate people in our local communities. Volunteering your time to help prepare meals, help at an after-school program to work with kids, or create a coat drive to collect winter items that can be donated to a charity organization to distribute to people in need. Churches are a good place to find opportunities to help others. 

God has gifted you with important talents. You can expand your abilities by using them to help others. Research has shown that volunteering boosts a person’s mood and decreases depression. Also, volunteering can help you get into the college of your choice. In 2018, a survey of 264 College Admissions Officers published in Forbes magazine stated that 58% of respondents agreed that “A student’s community service experience has a positive impact on his or her acceptance to our higher education institution.” College admission departments recommend that you volunteer consistently for at least a year to show commitment to more than yourself.  

Let 2023 be the year where you give of your time to make your community a better place to live! 


Tiffanee M. Wright, MA, MPH | Executive Director
AHLI – International Education and Homestay

Students, reach out to me on WeChat to tell me where you plan to volunteer!