Six Ways To Fulfill High School Volunteer Hour Requirements


By Marti Schodt

PanoramaCongratulations on your impending graduation. You made it. After 13 years of homework, tests, and questionable school lunches, you are finally at the end of your free education. I know it’s only September, but it’s time that you started thinking about fulfilling all your graduation requirements. The next nine months are going to be so full of fun and stress, that the more prepared you are, the better.

I can’t help you with the tests or the hard goodbyes, but I can give you a little assistance with the daunting task of finding a place where you can happily volunteer and get those service hours knocked out.

high school volunteer hours
Elementary schools appreciate help from high school volunteers.

Here are a few suggestions on where you can gleefully whittle away those 20 hours while making a positive impact on your community. Happy Volunteering!

If you like kids…

Remember when you were in elementary school and your parents would help out in your classroom and at all those super fun parent sponsored events? Well, you can do that too!  Elementary schools can always use a helping hand and kids love having teenager role models. To volunteer, students must fill out the form below and read over the volunteer handbook. All volunteers are subject to background checks and most schools also require that student volunteers receive consent from their high school principals.

North Thurston Public Schools

Olympia School District

Tumwater School District

If you like people…

It’s fun to volunteer at the Y-M-C-A. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. But really, the Y is a great place to volunteer if you love people and want to take part in shaping the community. YMCA volunteers are embedded in every aspect of the Y’s operation. Volunteers advise as committee members, coach youth sports teams, teach classes, help organize and run Y events, raise funds, and essentially help adult and youth members live healthier and more fulfilling lives.

To find current volunteer opportunities at the South Sound YMCA, click here.  The volunteer application can be found at this website.

If you like books…

high school volunteer hours
The Timberland Library is a great place to pitch in and volunteer.

If you find solace in the written word and enjoy that new book smell, consider volunteering at your local library. The Timberland Regional Library are currently looking for high school volunteers, but applications are only being accepted through September. Duties range from sorting and labeling books to aiding with inventory. Applications are available at each library branch.

If you like nature…

Ah, nature! The tress, the birds, the bugs, the dirt; it doesn’t get anymore majestic than volunteering in the great outdoors. If you think nature is neat, you should check out the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge which includes the Grays Harbor NWR and the Black River Unit of Nisqually NWR. The refuges seek to restore and maintain the natural habitats of migratory birds and other endangered species while educating visitors on the animals contained within.

Volunteers under the age of 18 must have parental consent.  Volunteer applications are available here.

If you like clothes…

If you’re a fashionista, or you just enjoy being around sparkly things, Cinderella’s Closet is the volunteering spot for you! Cinderella’s Closet is a non-profit organization with a mission of advancing girls’ self-esteem by offering a plethora of low-cost formalwear rentals. With close to 2,000 different types of dresses, the store is nothing short of a princess’s dream come true. Volunteers will sort dresses and jewelry, work with customers, help organize school fashion shows, and unite in a mission to make every girl feel beautiful.

high school volunteer hours
Animal Services accepts volunteers to help care for the shelter pets.

Contact the Volunteer Coordinator at 360-550- 5336

If you like animals…

Animal Services is a great place to volunteer if you prefer helping things of the fluffy variety. Responsibilities range from office tasks to working directly with the animals, with a lot of variety in-between. Fair warning: you will probably be cleaning the kennels at some point. The shelter requires a minimum of 24 hours of service for students fulfilling school requirements, and you will need to confer with the volunteer coordinator before beginning.

To become a shelter volunteer you must attend a volunteer orientation and fill out a form distributed during orientation. After your form is processed and approved, you’ll be called in for your first shift.  Orientation dates can be found here.

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