MARQUETTE - Summer might be time off from school for most kids and teens, but inbetween summer activities, it might also be a good time to do some good through volunteering.
Whether kids are looking for something to do with their free time, wanting to help out in their communities or searching for something that can give them experiences to put on a job application, volunteering is a valuable activity.
"Volunteering is a good thing," said Linda Remsburg, a youth development associate with the Great Lakes Center for Youth Development. "It's good for all people."
Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum volunteer Katie Angeli introduces friends Emma Ballweber, 8, far left, and Abby Faull, 8, to Zeus, a red tailed boa. Organizations accepting young volunteers range from The Children’s Museum to The Moosewood Nature Center to the Peter White Public Library to the St. Vincent de Paul Society. (Journal photo by Johanna Boyle)
There are organizations across the Upper Peninsula looking for volunteers during the summer months - and throughout the rest of the year - allowing young people to volunteer in an area that interests them and for as much time during the week as they might want.
The U.P. Volunteer Network, organized in 2007, offers a search engine of volunteer opportunities across the area, as well as a listing of organizations that regular need volunteers, available at www.upvolunteer.org.
Organizations in need of volunteers range from The Moosewood Nature Center to the Peter White Public Library to the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
Particularly for young people, volunteering at the U.P. Children's Museum, the YMCA or the Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Shelter might offer an experience in areas that young people are already interested in.
Organizations such as the Boy or Girl Scouts, the National Honor Society or Key Club also help provide volunteer opportunities, usually during the school year.
Depending on the organization, younger volunteers might need to have an adult accompany them, which makes volunteering an activity for the entire family.
"The earlier the better," Remsburg said of when kids should start volunteering. "It's a really good thing for families to volunteer together. It sets that foundation for volunteering later in life."
Young volunteers can also find opportunities to help out in their own neighborhoods, like cutting the grass for a neighbor.
Remsburg suggested those who are just starting out looking for a place to volunteer to check out the list of organizations at www.upvolunteer.org to see what opportunities are available. Then, once they find an organization that interests them, the potential volunteers can contact them for what sort of help is needed.
Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.