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Seattle-Area Volunteer Opportunities for Teens, Tweens and Families

Give back to your community by volunteering to help neighbors, animals and the outdoors

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Published on: January 05, 2024

teen girl volunteering at a park clean-up

There are an unlimited number of lessons to be learned by lending a hand. Through volunteering programs, tweens and teens can create community connections, learn the importance of giving back and develop essential life skills that will carry over into future careers.

We’ve compiled a list of fabulous Seattle-area volunteer opportunities to engage your tweens and teens and help them start 2024 with a focus on community.  

The opportunities below are organized by interest:

  • Help feed neighbors
  • Outdoor opportunities
  • Opportunities to help others 
  • Opportunities that involve animals

Check each organization’s website for the most current information about its volunteer programs. 

Help feed neighbors

Food Lifeline, Seattle

Volunteering duties at Food Lifeline are fun, easy and make a huge difference in the lives of people experiencing hunger. Volunteers must be age 10 or older. 

How to get involved: Learn more and register at Food Lifeline.

West Seattle Food Bank, West Seattle

West Seattle Food Bank’s mission is to make sure neighbors don’t go hungry by providing access to safe and nutritious food. Volunteers must be at least 14 years old.

How to get involved: Fill out a volunteer application online

University District Food Bank, Seattle

The University District Food Bank has been helping prevent hunger in Northeast Seattle for 40 years. Youths ages 13–18 are welcome to volunteer, with parental permission. Kids younger than 12 are welcome to volunteer with an adult family member. 

How to get involved: Fill out an individual volunteer interest form online (including high schoolers who plan to volunteer for more than 10 hours). If you have questions or would like to volunteer for less than 10 hours, reach out to food bank staff at

FamilyWorks, Seattle

FamilyWorks provides food and services to families in need. High school students, ages 14 and 15, can volunteer at the FamilyWorks food bank during school breaks. Teens who are 16 or older can also volunteer on Thursday afternoons, 3–6 p.m. Supermarket Saturday food drives are great for students with weekend availability. FamilyWorks requires all volunteers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

How to get involved: View teen-specific volunteering opportunities online.

Northwest Harvest, Kent

Help sort and pack food for Northwest Harvest, which promotes healthy eating while reducing hunger. Volunteers ages 9–15 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian; teens ages 16 and older can volunteer independently.

How to get involved: Sign up to be a volunteer online. Note that if you are planning on volunteering alongside your teen, both you and your child need to fill out an application. Editor's note: Volunteer applications for the regional distribution centers in Auburn and Spokane are currently on hold. 

Nourish, Pierce County

Serving food to more than half a million people in Pierce County every year, Nourish Pierce County always needs volunteers to help out. Teens must be age 17 or older to volunteer on their own.

How to get involved: Create an account with Volunteer Up through the Nourish website to sign up for shifts. 

Outdoor opportunities

Seattle Parks and Recreation Teen Service Learning, various locations

Seattle Parks and Recreation provides a wide range of free service opportunities. Teens can help restore trails, repair urban forest land, gain water-safety experience as a lifeguard and more. Teens are expected to be reliable and “proud of the work that they have produced.”  

How to get involved: Check the website for specific details for the program you are interested in pursuing. Teens are required to provide the necessary paperwork to document community service hours intended for school credit.

Camp Fire, various locations

Teens in eighth grade through high school can volunteer as camp counselors at day camps and overnight camps for younger kids. Counselors help with programming that includes cooking, games, arts and crafts, nature and more.

How to get involved: Counselors must undergo specific training to learn leadership skills and other essentials involved in the job. Learn more about the various camps and training.

Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association, West Seattle

The Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association’s Urban Forest Restoration program welcomes outdoorsy volunteers who are ready to learn new skills and engage in new experiences. Their volunteer opportunities focus on local forest and wetland restoration in West Seattle parks.

How to get involved: Visit the DNDA volunteer page for details. Note that kids younger than 18 (youths ages 5 and older can volunteer) must have a signed waiver before participating.   

Washington Trails Association, various locations

Washington Trails Association offers tons of outdoor volunteer opportunities. By attending a work party, teens can learn leadership and outdoor skills, earn service hours and make new friends — all while spending time outside. Or join a Youth Volunteer Vacation: an opportunity to spend a whole week outdoors while building and maintaining hiking trails.

How to get involved: Join a work party or learn more about the Youth Volunteer Vacation program.

EarthCorps, various locations

Help beautify locations all around Puget Sound — from Everett to Tacoma — with EarthCorps. Volunteers ages 14–18 are free to volunteer without a parent or guardian as long as that adult completes a waiver for their teen to turn in on the day of the work event.

How to get involved: Sign up for a specific outdoor work event by visiting the volunteer calendar, and follow EarthCorps on social media, or sign up to receive the newsletter to learn about upcoming opportunities. 

Metro Parks Tacoma, various locations

Sign up for an outdoor work party through the CHIP-In program with Metro Parks Tacoma. There are many parks and gardens that need volunteer work; find a specific park or garden online to view volunteer options. Many options are family-friendly, but occasionally an event is for volunteers ages 18 and older. Be sure to check the details for the specific event you wish to attend. 

How to get involved: Register for an upcoming event on the Metro Parks website

Wilderness Awareness School, various locations

Sign up to be a summer camp volunteer with Wildness Awareness School. The school is looking for volunteers (ages 13–18) who are interested in working with children in the natural environment. Volunteers will assist lead instructors during the Nature Day Camps for one week or more during the summer. All volunteers must be fully vaccinated to participate in youth and adult programs.

How to get involved: Submit your application online and read more about the program on the website (volunteer applications for summer 2024 will open in March). 

Opportunities to help others

City of Bellevue, various locations

Budding thespians might enjoy volunteering at Bellevue Youth Theatre. Or perhaps your teen wants to get involved in community issues through the Youth Link program? Whatever your teen’s interest, the City of Bellevue has plenty of options.

How to get involved: Check out the City of Bellevue’s Teen Volunteering page for options, locations and more. 

WestSide Baby, Seattle

Help keep children safe, warm and dry by volunteering for WestSide Baby. Sort donations, bundle diapers, fill orders and more. Teens ages 13 and older can volunteer on their own; children younger than 13 need a parent to come along. All youth volunteers younger than 18 must have a minor consent form on file.

How to get involved: WestSide Baby hosts Teen Volunteer After School hours and other opportunities; find details on the volunteer page.

KidVantage (formally Eastside Baby Corner), Issaquah, Northshore and Bremerton

Volunteer opportunities are available for individuals or groups. KidVantage welcomes kids ages 12 and older, but young volunteers must be accompanied by an adult.

How to get involved: Check out the calendar for upcoming volunteer opportunities and sign up online. Sign-up forms are also available for groups on the website. 

Jewish Family Service, various locations

Jewish Family Service’s mission is to help vulnerable families achieve “well-being, health and stability.” Volunteer opportunities range from helping with food drives, to collecting gloves, socks and coats and more. Teens are welcome, but volunteers ages 18 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.

How to get involved: Volunteer as a family by visiting the website.

Kids Coming Together, Sammamish

Kids Coming Together provides volunteering opportunities for kids in third grade through high school. Younger ages benefit from guided service activities spearheaded by high school “leaders.” Teenage leaders are there to participate, facilitate and help the younger kids have fun and make new friends.

How to get involved: Visit the Kids Coming Together volunteer page for details.

Swedish Medical Center, various locations

Is your teen considering a career in health care? Swedish Medical Center offers volunteer opportunities for teens ages 14–18. Space is limited, but kids are encouraged to apply to be added to the queue.

How to get involved: Editor's note: The Edmonds campus is the only location currently accepting volunteers younger than 18. 

Seattle Public Library, various locations

Editor's note: Due to COVID-19 restrictions, SPL is unable to operate regular volunteer shifts. SPL is currently working toward reestablishing in-person opportunities. Continue to check the website for further updates.

Treehouse for Kids, Seattle

Support youth experiencing foster care by volunteering for Treehouse. High schoolers age 16 and older are free to volunteer without an adult. Tasks include sorting donations, preparing merchandise for the Treehouse Store and more.

How to get involved: Register online.

Wallingford Community Senior Center, Seattle

Teens can build community across generations by volunteering at the Wallingford Community Senior Center.

How to get involved: Connect with older adults by filling out an application online.

Opportunities that involve animals

Seattle Aquarium

Through the Seattle Aquarium’s Youth Ocean Advocates program, high school volunteers have the opportunity to participate in ocean conservation projects, including beach cleanups.

How to get involved: Teens need to be currently enrolled in grades 9–12. Spaces are limited and orientation is required

Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle

The primary role of volunteers at Woodland Park Zoo is to engage with guests, but dedicated teens ages 16 and older should know that existing volunteers have the opportunity to apply for other zoo positions, including roles involved in animal care.

How to get involved: Teens ages 16 and older can register for an upcoming virtual info session (volunteer applications are only available after attending a session). 

Little Bit, Redmond

If you have a horse-obsessed teen ages 14 or older, send them to Little Bit, a therapeutic riding center serving people with disabilities. Program volunteers help with grooming, tacking, leading horses and supporting riders during classes. No previous horse experience is necessary, but program volunteers must commit to a regular two-hour shift for at least six months. Looking for a shorter commitment? Help out as a Barn Team volunteer! 

How to get involved: Visit Little Bit’s volunteer page for details. 

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Tacoma

If your teen loves animals and the environment, encourage them to become a Camp Assistant or Zoo Guide at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Youth volunteers must be between the ages of 14 and 18. 

How to get involved: View high school volunteer opportunities and learn when applications are accepted on the website.

The Humane Society, Tacoma and Pierce County

Tacoma and Pierce County teens ages 16 and older can work with animals by volunteering at the Humane Society. This is a six-month commitment, so make sure your teen has the time to give before they fill out an application.

How to get involved: Fill out a volunteer application. Note: This is a popular opportunity and the Humane Society periodically closes the application process when full.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published a few years ago, and was updated most recently in January 2024. 

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