Summer Vacation for Teens: Work, Intern or Volunteer

summer jobs, summer internship, volunteer opportunities, summer beak, summer vacation

Jenny is a 16 year old from New Jersey. She loves books, photography and God. She is also a feminist and an animal rights advocate. Her dream is to be a journalist who travels around the world.


With summer just around the corner, spring is the time for teenagers to start thinking about any kind of work they want to do in the summer, whether it be volunteering, interning or getting a job.  Along with the obvious boost that summer work gives to one’s resume or college application, it also gives teens experience and skills that they may not be able to get from school or anywhere else.

Finding volunteer work should not be too hard.  Most likely, there are many places in your community that might need the extra help.  Local libraries are almost always accepting teen volunteers to shelve books, help out at the checkout desk or manage the kids in the children’s section.  If your teen likes working with animals or working outdoors, animal shelters or nature preserves are a good option.  In an animal shelter, one will perform tasks like cleaning cages, walking dogs and volunteering at adoption events.  Working at a nature preserve will involve cleaning trails, doing paperwork inside the office or even helping out with tours.  Some more career specific volunteer work, like at a hospital or for a political campaign is always very rewarding and may give your teen some more ideas about what they want as a future career.  However, these may require some industry-related skills and your teen should have an interest in the actual field.  One tip for finding volunteer opportunities is timeliness, apply as early as possible!  The beginning of summer is when most teens start the search for volunteer work and each place can take only a limited number of volunteers.  Make your interest known to the organization as early as in the spring.

Internships are usually reserved for college students or degree holding graduates; however, it is not impossible for a teenager in high school to find one.  They may require a little more effort to find but can be very rewarding.  Try searching for local smaller business that might benefit from an extra hand.  They might be happy about the added manpower and might be willing to teach your teen some extra skills along the way.  Try some of the smaller law firms/offices, a doctor’s office or a small store.  There are also some very prestigious and competitive internships out there such as the science research internships for universities or the National Space Club Scholars Program for NASA.  Also, there are an increasing number of online internships.  If your teen loves to write, he or she could be a Teen Writer Intern for Radical Parenting.  Internships are usually unpaid.

If working for free doesn’t seem appealing to your teen or if he or she wants to use the summer to make a little extra cash, getting a summer job is a great option.  Besides the emolument, having a job helps teens learn responsibility.  It also looks great on a college application, showing commitment and maturity.  Different states have different age restrictions so that is something your teen should look into.  Places that accept younger workers tend to be food places and small stores.  Try ice cream shops, kiosks at the mall, and small boutiques.  If job searching produces nothing, then it is always worthwhile to be your own employer!  Is your teen good at any particular school subject?  If yes, then tutoring younger children can be a great and easy way to make some extra money.

All in all, summer is a great opportunity to get some work done!  Teens can gain experience, knowledge and even some extra pocket money.  It is definitely worthwhile to take the effort to look for worthwhile work to do over summer.


Photo Credit: roboppy on Flickr

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