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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011

    Volunteer suggestions for a 13 year old?

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    My 13 year old daughter is too old for the summer camps in the area but too young to get working papers. I would like her to volunteer for the summer so she doesn't sit around idle all day. However, most places do not accept 13 year olds due to liability issues. We called a bunch of local day cares and a few nursing homes and they were pretty adamant that they don't accept 13 year olds so I'm at a loss. All the day camps in the area have "counselors-in-training" but you have to be 15. Anyone have any suggestions on places that would be happy to have a responsible 13 year old volunteer for the summer?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
    Have you tried the public library? I was thinking helping out in the children's dept. Public libraries also have policies on volunteers and many do screen them.

    What does she like doing as hobbies?
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Thank you for the suggestion! I haven't tried the library but that's a good thought. My only concern is that they will probably want someone with working papers since they are technically government-run but it's definitely worth a shot. Coincidentally, she loves to read which is why it would be perfect. She likes kids, cooking and swimming as well.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    I have a 13 yr old son and there aren't many places available, but we did find a couple. Don't know if your area has Cat Matchers. Cat Matchers helps to find homes for cats in need of a home. The cats are kept at Petco stores and they need volunteers to keep the enclosures clean, change out the cats bedding, groom/brush the cats, and play with the cats. They can also help out on adoption days. One of the local zoos has volunteer positions available at age 13. They work with the barnyard/petting zoo animals.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Tucson, AZ
    I'd have said "animal shelter", though that might be age-restricted. My public library was 16+.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    The SPCA I volunteered at allowed kids, but they had to have a parent with them. I'm sure every place is different, but if the better known shelters don't allow it (the pound, SPCA) look at more specific, smaller rescues. Like reptile rescues

    Come to think of it, there is also a reptile club I belong too. We do tend to collect younger members who aren't allowed reptiles in the house yet, they come out and help us with educational events. If your kid is interested in any kind of animal, there is probably a club for it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    where the wind comes sweeping down the plain
    Animal shelters. Maybe the city ones would require you to be 14, but what about private organizations (the no-kill animal sanctuaries)? Perhaps they would be more willing to accept a younger volunteer with letters of recommendation from teachers? I know many of them desperately need volunteers.
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    When I was thirteen I went around the neighborhood mowing lawns and washing cars for a summer job. I made a flyer and went door to door. I had about 10-12 customers. I was mowing lawns every day.

    Volunteer ideas: if you attend a church or religious organization, there are probably things to help with weekly there. Cleaning, filing, etc. Local agencies like police/firefighters will sometimes take on young volunteers to help with inventory, washing vehicles, etc. We have a neighborhood garden you can volunteer working at . . .
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Our library had a summer page program that accepted 13 year olds. it was only for an hour or two a week.


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  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    I manage a volunteer center. Your best bet for youth that young are as some mentioned: libraries, churches, animal rescue groups. Another good bet is a museums or historical mansions. Historical programs are much more willing to work with youth than other programs. Lastly, try the naturalist or eco-friendly organizations in your town. Sometimes those groups are willing to have youth represent for them and/or help during special events (fairs/festivals).

    You will mostly have a bad time placing a youth with any agency that deals with a vulnerable population.

    Also, another tip many parents don't realize. More agencies will be willing to work with your young child if you can volunteer WITH them! Good luck!
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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    West MI
    What about babysitting? I started when I was about 12 and the summer when I was 13 I made a TON of money babysitting a few days/evenings per week. My grandpa worked for the local chamber of commerce where I grew up...it was a really touristy area, so couples on vacation who wanted a romantic dinner out would hire me to watch their kids for a few hours. Those folks generally paid REALLY well.
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  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2010
    I know I volunteered at a YMCA camp when I was about that age (I might've been 14, but my little sister worked there too). I wonder if there might be any information in a guidance counselor's office at her school or the local high schools? We were required to do community service every year to graduate from high school so programs that accepted younger students would usually contact our school to coordinate with volunteers.

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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Marin County CA
    I would have said animal shelter also.

    Do you have any local animal parks or zoos? My daughter has been volunteering at the SF zoo since she was about 11 - so 5 years. They had a program where the kids work their way up handling, cleaning enclosures, etc., for different small animals in their rehab facility. She's worked her way up to hawks.

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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    I have a friend who 'hired' a young neighbor girl as an au pair. Hired is in quotes, because while the girl was helpful to my friend and her baby, my friend provided supervision for the girl who was too young to be left alone.

    The girl did receive a small amount of money, and she didn't know that her mom really was the one paying.
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  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Thank you all for your great suggestions!

    I called the local library and they accept volunteers but they said they have a lot of demand but my daughter could stop by to see if there are openings. However, it's only 1-2 hours a week.

    I also called a local historical organization and a nature society. Unfortunately she was too young for both. I called a religious organization but they weren't accepting volunteers. Fortunately there are many others I can call. There are no local zoos in the area which is why I called the nature center but that would have been very cool! I also left a message for the school guidance counselor but she did not return my call yet.

    I haven't tried an animal shelter yet but that's next on my list. I also sent a note to several friends who have kids offering her services as a mothers helper. I'm wondering if it looks bad to potential volunteer coordinators to have me call, as opposed to having her call directly. She is away on a school trip which is why I placed the first couple of calls but I'm thinking if she is serious about volunteering, she should call. What do you think?

    Please keep the ideas coming, they are appreciated. Thank you!!!



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