Discover+ Opportunities: Service-Oriented Activities

November 30, 2023

In the competitive landscape of college admissions, high school students are continually seeking ways to stand out and make a positive impact. One great way to do so is through service-oriented activities. Not only does engaging in these activities reflect a commitment to making a positive difference in the world, but it also provides students with valuable experiences that can enhance their college applications.

Discover+, AtomicMind‘s free online catalog of impactful extracurricular opportunities, was developed based on years of experience assisting students in discovering and participating in a diverse range of enriching activities, including meaningful service-oriented activities, ten of the most impactful of which are described below. Feel free to contact us for guidance in selecting and engaging in a service-oriented activity that aligns with your passions and goals.

Feeding America

Feeding America is a nationwide initiative comprising food banks, pantries, and meal programs committed to achieving fair access to nutrition for everyone. The program encourages volunteers of all ages to engage in various roles, including sorting and packing food, delivering meals, and hosting food drives. Virtual food drives collect online donations to aid food banks in strategic purchases, while traditional drives gather non-perishable items dropped off at local food banks. Feeding America also advocates for crucial legislation supporting anti-hunger programs like the School Breakfast Program and Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP), urging individuals to voice their support to federal representatives and spread awareness through social media.

Sierra Club Student Coalition

The Sierra Student Coalition is a network of young individuals aged fourteen through thirty-five dedicated to organizing for climate, racial, and economic justice. As the youth-led chapter of the Sierra Club, a national nonprofit focusing on climate solutions and environmental well-being, the coalition provides training programs, leadership development opportunities, campaigns, and resources to youth across the country. One of their key initiatives is the Summer Program (Sprog), a week-long leadership training program that covers environmental and social justice activism tools. The curriculum includes topics such as campaign planning, leadership development, anti-oppression strategies, media engagement, and self/community care.

Yale New Haven Hospital Youth Volunteer Program

Volunteer opportunities at Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH) offer a range of roles, allowing individuals to work directly with patients or contribute behind the scenes. Behind-the-scenes assignments involve assisting staff with clerical tasks, deliveries, and light computer work. Customer-service positions entail helping patients and visitors navigate the hospital or assisting customers in gift shops. In patient support roles, volunteers provide assistance in clinics and inpatient areas, with assignments varying between moderate and intense patient support. Additionally, volunteers have the opportunity to serve at various offsite YNHH locations throughout the academic year or during an eight-week summer period.

Earth Guardians Crews

Earth Guardians Crews are youth-led and intergenerational groups of passionate leaders dedicated to taking action for a healthy, just, and sustainable future. These crews have the autonomy to drive their own projects and initiatives in response to local climate and environmental challenges while contributing to the broader global climate movement. Crews not only engage in their own initiatives but also have access to Earth Guardians programs, campaigns, trainings, resources, grants, community, partnerships, and more. Members of these crews are equipped to become influential leaders in the intersection of environmental and climate justice, employing various approaches such as art, storytelling, on-the-ground projects, civic engagement, and legal action to address critical global issues.

Special Olympics Volunteer Program

Dedicated to offering athletic opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, the Special Olympics seeks volunteers of all ages. Volunteer commitments can vary from one day to long term, and opportunities include coaching, officiating, venue set up, competition aides, assisting with opening and closing ceremonies, event clean up, various support positions, and participating alongside Special Olympics athletes in competitions.

Habitat for Humanity Youth Programs

Habitat for Humanity aims to cultivate a love for volunteering at an early age by offering a range of volunteer opportunities for individuals aged five through forty. The Youth Programs serve as a bridge between aspiration and action, harnessing the idealism of younger generations to bring about tangible change through service. Volunteering with Habitat not only provides general benefits but also offers the chance to collaborate with diverse individuals, understand the needs of others, contribute to community strengthening, experience a sense of accomplishment, acquire new skills and confidence, and improve lives.

ENGin Ukraine

ENGin facilitates weekly online speaking sessions by pairing English learners with volunteers from around the world. The matching process considers preferences, interests, and availability to ensure effective and enjoyable communication experiences. ENGin provides ongoing support to participants, offering tips, resources, and assistance with problem resolution. This program allows volunteers to make a meaningful impact on the lives of Ukrainians from the convenience of their laptops or phones. The program also promotes intercultural exchange, providing an opportunity to learn about new cultures and share personal stories. Additionally, volunteers gain valuable one-on-one tutoring experience with support and resources from the ENGin team.

Key Club

Key Club is a global, student-led organization that offers members opportunities to engage in service, foster character development, and cultivate leadership skills. High school students involved in Key Club participate in community service activities such as park clean-ups, clothing collections, and food drives. The organization emphasizes leadership development through tasks like running meetings, planning projects, and holding elected positions at the club, district, and international levels. Key Club membership is open to any student aspiring to become a leader in their school and community, dedicated to providing service to others. Members commit to contributing a minimum of fifty hours per year to combined service in their home, school, and community.

Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels is a nationwide network of nonprofit programs committed to delivering nutritious meals to home-bound senior citizens and others in need. With over two million volunteers in the United States, the most common role is meal delivery, but there are also opportunities for kitchen help. Volunteer schedules are flexible, with shifts lasting no more than an hour and a half, allowing volunteers to choose their frequency, whether weekly or monthly.

American Red Cross Youth

American Red Cross Youth is an international nonprofit organization that engages young people in supporting the Red Cross's disaster relief and health and safety education initiatives. Volunteer opportunities include assisting with blood drives, participating in preparedness and safety awareness events, assembling comfort kits for disaster survivors, advocating for international humanitarian laws, providing service to Armed Forces personnel and veterans, fundraising, and starting a Red Cross club.