Other Organizations That Do Good
Amnesty International: www.amnestyusa.org/take-action
Amnesty International is a global movement of people fighting injustice and promoting human rights. Start a school club and join the Amnesty International network to promote this work. You can help to improve policies around human rights issues by exposing and preventing human rights abuses through Amnesty’s petitions and letter-writing campaigns.
Cards for Hospitalized Kids: www.cardsforhospitalizedkids.com
Through handmade cards that help brighten the days of children in hospitals, Cards for Hospitalized Kids spreads hope, joy, and magic. Anyone from anywhere can get involved. Individuals and groups across the United States and the world donate their time and creativity to make the cards and send them to Cards for Hospitalized Kids for distribution in hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses across the nation. Meet up with your friends to write the cards together and share your support and care for children who cannot get out to play.
Feeding America: www.feedingamerica.org/find-your-local-foodbank
Feeding America is a network of food banks that distributes more than three billion meals each year through food pantries and meal programs throughout the United States. Volunteer at a food pantry or a soup kitchen and help to serve food, stock shelves, or other provide support to keep these essential services running. The Feeding America website provides a directory to help you find your local food bank and discover ways to help nourish those in need.
Habitat for Humanity: www.habitat.org/volunteer/near-you/youth-programs
Habitat for Humanity is the largest organization working to create housing for those in need. The organization has several youth programs and accepts both short-term and long-term volunteers who go on to gain an understanding of the complexity of housing as well as supporting those in need. Their Campus Chapters are student-led organizations on high school or college campuses that partner with local Habitat affiliates.
Hungry for Music: www.hungryformusic.org
Hungry for Music helps children and vulnerable populations transform their lives through the gift of music. Donate musical instruments to children and veterans who would not otherwise have access to them, or volunteer to transport instruments, hang flyers, and work at their events through their service projects.
Only one in four children get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity or active play every day. KaBOOM! believes all kids should get the childhood they deserve, filled with play every day so they can thrive. Help KaBOOM! build playgrounds in low-income neighborhoods by joining a fundraising team or its Play Everywhere Challenge and ensure that all children have access to the resources they need.
Kiva U: www.kiva.org/kivau/intro
Kiva U envisions a world where all students and educators are empowered with the tools and opportunities to become informed, inspired, and mobilized global citizens. Through experiential learning, digital collaboration, and the power of human connections, Kiva U provides a platform for young people to take action and change lives via microfinance and financial inclusion.
Let’s Play It Forward: www.letsplayitforward.org
Let’s Play It Forward was started by a group of teens in Westchester, New York, to help charitable youth organizations and individuals in need to obtain gear necessary to play the sports they love. It began when the Westchester teens realized that they had an abundance of unused sports equipment in their garages and started calling organizations to inquire whether they could make use of it. The responses were overwhelming. Help collect and donate unused or gently used sports equipment to be distributed through their organization. For children without access to ball, bat, or cleats, this may allow them the chance to participate in the same sports you love!
Love for the Elderly: http://www.lovefortheelderly.org/senior-buddies
So many of our elderly have no one to care for them or even someone to check in to see how they are getting on. Love for the Elderly, founded by a high school student, wants to change that. You can help by providing emotional support and learning more about a different era through participation in its Pen Pals program. Some Elders may not have children or grandchildren in their lives and are lonely without family support. Make a new old friend!
Meals on Wheels: https://www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org/
Meals on Wheels, the mobile food clinic for the elderly, makes a huge difference in the lives of many seniors. Volunteer and help provide food and a sense of community to elderly people who may no longer be able to provide for themselves.
Musicians on Call: www.musiciansoncall.org
It’s no secret that music is healing and can help lift the spirit, which is why Musicians on Call brings live and recorded music to the bedsides of patients in healthcare facilities. Volunteer with Musicians on Call to play a show for hospitals patients or help to organize such a show. Share your musical skills and help to bring a smile to those being treated for major illnesses or injuries. You could also gather your band, dance group, or choir and contact your local hospital or senior center for permission to visit.
One Warm Coat: www.onewarmcoat.org
Even a two-degree drop in body temperature can result in reduced heart rate, loss of coordination, and confusion, making it difficult for adults to work effectively and children to learn. For many, a warm coat solves the problem. But for families of those living in poverty, a winter coat is a budget “extra”. Help One Warm Coat provide coats to those in need by holding a coat drive. Cold winters can be hard enough, but for people who don’t have the money for a proper coat, or even a place to stay, they are nearly impossible.
Polaris Project: www.polarisproject.org/action/
There are thousands of human trafficking victims across the United States, many of whom are children. Polaris works to restore the freedom to those trafficked and uses data and technology to uncover trafficking operations. Help them in their fight to end modern slavery by promoting political change, helping to fundraise for rescue centers, and educating others about the dangers and signs of trafficking.
Read Across America: https://www.readacrossamerica.org
Children who spend more time reading do better and are happier in school. Recognizing the important role reading plays, every year on March 2nd, the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss, teachers, teenager, librarians, politicians, actors, athletes, parents, and grandparents across the nation join the National Education Association-sponsored Read Across America activities to bring reading excitement to children of all ages. Read Across America also provides ways to keep reading on the calendar all year long.
Special Olympics: https://www.specialolympics.org/get-involved
Special Olympics transforms the lives of people with intellectual disabilities through the joy of sport. Support Special Olympics’ mission to show the world the capacity of those with disabilities, as well as provide them with a chance to shine. Volunteer as a coach for a variety of sports or volunteer to assist with Special Olympics event in your area.
The American Red Cross was founded to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies. Volunteers carry out 90% of the humanitarian work the organization does. Your time and talent can make a real difference in people’s lives. You can volunteer with the Red Cross or create a Red Cross club at your school. For those over age 16, look into whether you are eligible to donate blood or volunteer to assist at a blood drive. A small amount of your time can help save a life.
Toys for Tots: https://www.toysfortots.org
Every year, during the months of October, November, and December, Toys for Tots collect new, unwrapped toys to distribute to children who otherwise may not receive any in the communities where the campaigns in several ways by donating a toy at one of your area’s toy drop locations, hosting a campaign in several ways by donating a toy at one of your area’s toy drop locations, hosting a Toys for Tots event, or volunteering at a local warehouse. Many families struggle to make ends meet and do not have the extra money to buy toys for their children. Give them a chance to play, the same change you had.
UNICEF works for a world in which every child has a a fair chance in life. One of UNICEF’s goals is to empower American youth with the resources and skills to be effective global citizens who think globally and act locally for the world’s most vulnerable children. You can join the ranks of college and high school students around the country who are educating, advocating, and fundraising on behalf of UNICEF by starting a UNICEF club.
WE Schools: www.we.org/we-schools
WE schools is a program that challenges young people to identify the local and global issues that spark their passion and then empowers them with the tools to take action. By becoming a WE school, or starting your own separate youth program, or even signing up with WE on your own, you can commit to working to support local and global
The YMCA’s Youth Development Programs are part of the YMCA’s mission to nurture the potenial of every child and teen by supporting his or her unique development journey and providing the tools and resources they need to succeed in life. Volunteer with your local YMCA to help coach young children’s sport teams, or tutor a child in reading or math, and build your leadership skills while helping to serve and mentor others.