May 27, 2008

Searching for the Perfect Volunteer Opportunity

By Eric Yuan, 4-H Youth Mentor
Pinellas County Extension, University of Florida/IFAS

volunteeringPerhaps the hardest part of volunteering is not taking the time to give back and help others. The hardest part may just be finding a volunteering opportunity that fits you. In an article written by Nemours Foundation, “Volunteering Isn’t Like School”, it states that one of the first things that you must ask yourself when searching for the perfect place to volunteer is knowing what interests you. If you are interested in working with youth, there are plenty of organizations out there such as Big Brother or a Big Sister or R-Club after school. If you are interested in animals, you can ask a local animal shelter if they are interested in any volunteers. Or if you enjoy helping out the community directly, you can volunteer at a park clean up or a homeless shelter. The point is that there are opportunities to volunteer to suit almost any interest that you may have.
To read the complete article “Volunteering” from the Nemours Foundation visit:

It is also important to know who you want to work with when volunteering. If you enjoy working with a group of peers then it would behoove you to volunteer at a location focused on youth development. If you want to work alone then perhaps being a tutor or a mentor to younger children would suit you better. Maybe even more important than knowing who you want to work with is figuring out when you are available to volunteer. You must always make sure that your volunteer opportunity will not conflict with other existing activities such as a job, sports, or clubs. Furthermore, you must know how much time you will need to commit as a volunteer. For example, will the activity be everyday after school or only on weekends?

After you have a decided on a few possible choices, the next step is to call the organization and see if they are a perfect fit for you. Ask them if they have previously worked with teen volunteers and if they have a volunteer-friendly atmosphere. Another important aspect to inquire about is whether their volunteer program promotes youth development. Volunteering should be an opportunity for you to mature and learn valuable life skills while helping your community.

To help you get started in your search for the perfect volunteer opportunity you can visit
or visit to find some ideas that will help you narrow your search.

If you are looking for a place to volunteer, why not simply take a look at the great volunteer opportunities available at 4-H Extension? 4-H Youth Development is a youth oriented volunteer experience that not only allows for youth to volunteer but also gives them a chance to learn valuable life skills. Youth volunteering opportunities at 4-H can be found both during the school year and in the summer. 4-H has adult volunteering as well. Adult volunteers are greatly appreciated in their year round effort to making 4-H a better place. If you are interested in either youth or adult volunteering feel free to contact the Pinellas County Extension for more information.
Visit the 4-H Extension website to learn more about volunteer opportunities:
The Extension office is located at 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo, FL 33774
Phone number (727) 582-2100

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