Summer Volunteering Programs For High School Students In 2023

Summer volunteering programs are one of the cool things every high school student must do before or after high school. Nonetheless, before you sign up for that program or ship your teen to an unknown place, you need to know some things.

We will explore these things – options available to you and their benefits if selected.

This article by World Scholarship Forum has complied with some of the best places high school students should volunteer this summer. While some of these programs are here in the US, some are abroad.

So take a few minutes and read through this article to know the best places for your summer volunteer program as a high school student.

Meanwhile, below is a table of content for an overview of this article.

Most schools in the US, especially Ivy League schools, continue to show interest in the extracurricular activities of their potential students. This is to ensure that their prospective students have a “life” outside academics.

To this effect, most, if not all, schools have included an essay in their admission requirement where students highlight the activities they engaged in before securing admissions.

So here’s a list of summer volunteer programs that are perfect for you.

Table of contents


I remember going for a summer volunteer program as a teen. Then it was just for fun and an opportunity to meet new people.

Today, however, it’s become much more than just a fun thing to do. It has helped many students get admission into some of the top schools in the country. And for some people, it beamed light to a new career path.

However, I’d want you to go for a summer volunteering program not so you can secure admission to some school but for its intrinsic value.

Whatever your reason for trying to volunteer in a summer program, we’ve got you covered. Below are some abroad high school summer volunteer programs.

#1. Global Vision International (GVI)

If you’re interested in a volunteer program promoting sustainable development goals and projects, GVI suits you. This summer volunteer program seeks to tackle critical and global issues through education and training programs.

The GVI programs are run by acclaimed international partners like Save The Children, WWF, The Red Cross, and PADI.

  • Popular countries: South Africa, Laos, Thailand
  • Popular projects: Teaching, Wildlife Research, Marine Conservation 

#2. Study Programs International (SPI)

Enroll in the SPI program that combines an authentic language immersion experience and leadership skills to get set up for an advantage in college admissions and future job opportunities.

The program is abroad and focuses on helping you develop lifelong skills while gaining global perspectives and learning another language. gap year programs

Popular countries: Spain, Costa Rica, Mexico Popular projects: Public Works Projects, Orphanage Work, Construction

#3. Go Beyond Students Travel

Complete cultural immersion is your best option for a high school student looking to gain the skills to thrive in an increasingly multicultural, interconnected, and competitive world.

Go beyond Student travel offers you this opportunity and;

These high school summer volunteer programs promote the type of intercultural understanding, mutual respect, and social responsibility necessary for future success.

  • Popular countries: Australia, British Virgin Islands, Ecuador, Thailand 
  • Popular projects: Community Service, Orphanage Work, Conservation

#4. Projects Abroad

Project Abroad allows you to volunteer in Fiji, the Philippines, and Belize, in worthwhile and meaningful projects in developing countries.

This program is done with top-notch in-country support from program staff to ensure a safe and fun experience.

Popular Projects:  Teaching Sports, Conservation, Public Health Projects 

#5. The Experiment In International Living

To get equipped with essential cultural skills and get attain a deeper awareness of sensitivity to global issues, choose The Experiment In International Living high school summer volunteer program.

These programs will help you thrive in new diverse environments.

Additionally, the programs allow you to learn new invaluable skills, connect with people, and attain a whole level of awareness of things that matter globally.

The program is popular in Argentina, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. And popular projects to carry out include projects on sustainability, Community Service and Development.

#6. Teaching English In China

Learning English is in high demand in China, so there is a high demand for English teachers. Students are eager to learn and are incredibly grateful for their English teachers.

Joining this summer overseas volunteer program for high school students is a fantastic way to explore China while also spending some time teaching at a local school.

#7. Orphanage Work in Ecuador

Unfortunately, due to extreme poverty and several other tragic situations, there are a great number of children who are left orphans in Quito, Ecuador.

You can help these children by joining this summer volunteer abroad project for high school students in Ecuador. You will help to care for, teach, mentor, befriend, and love these deserving and special kids.

This experience can change your life and perspective for good. Yes, I know!! Been there and done that, not in Ecuador, but you get the point.

Home-based Summer Volunteer Programs

#8. Conservative Programs

This is right for you if you plan to stay home and spend some time outdoors, as I did in one of my high school summers.

The program allows you to do some good in your community by volunteering at your local park, beach, forest, and another summer spot.

You can help maintain structures, clean up litter, and improve wildlife habitat. If you love to do it every summer, you can join  Student Conservation Association’s Summer Community Crews.

You can also join the National Park Service’s Youth Conservation Corps to protect these natural places for many summers.

#9. Summer Meal Program

With food insecurity on the rise, many students that depend on free and reduced lunches during the school year would need help during the summer.

While food pantries and meal providers know this and take steps to help keep folks fed, they usually need help distributing food packages.

Therefore, identify your local Feeding America food bank, and volunteer to collect, pack and distribute meals.

You’d be filling gaps if you did this, and oh boy!! You’d feel better that you helped feed someone.

#10 Museum Programs

Summer is a time to unwind and relax, but learning something new in a museum this summer would never hurt. Museums don’t just have the most significant historical artifacts; they are a knowledge repository.

Sign up for an opportunity to learn about historical events and people at museums nationwide.

Be a part of history (or science, art, or…espionage) at these institutions by volunteering over the summer.

Why You Should Spend Your Summer Giving Back To The Society

Summer Volunteer Programs for high school students allow teens to do something new.

You can work with large nonprofits in community development projects led by small enterprises, on farms, or in the water.

And if you plan on doing it abroad, it spans the spectrum, and here’s what you need to know before running off or letting your teen run off.

Summer Programs Will Spiff Up Your College Applications

Volunteer programs will make for an excellent point in your college application. While I don’t encourage you to engage in these programs for this sole reason, If you do, however, it will surely impress your application officer.

This experience can even be the start of a good essay. And if you picked up a new language, that’s a bonus to your application.

To Unhook.

Wi-Fi is limited during these summer volunteer opportunities, so volunteers can spend their downtime connecting with real human beings.

However, you get some time to call home to let them know you’re safe.

You Will Become More Independent

When you volunteer abroad under 18, high school students are responsible for more than themselves. This fosters intense tolerance, independence, confidence, self-resilience, and adaptability.

Getting them in the door at a summer job or internship instead may seem de rigueur for teens to hold their own in a competitive economy.

However, they need to hone their soft skills, like being caring and compassionate, before moving on to those technical skills.

Plus, summer volunteer programs for teens often do a great job of teaching both hard and soft skills, depending on their project.

Is It Safe For High School Students To Volunteer Abroad?

Most parents wouldn’t let their teens travel for an abroad summer volunteer program, and their fears are legitimate.

However, numerous summer volunteering programs are out there, and with careful planning, you don’t have to worry about their safety.

 High school students under 18 years old can gain immense benefits from managing their health and safety while abroad. Volunteering abroad may even make high school students much safer than if they stayed home partying all summer.

So if you’re a parent reading this, and your child wants to go abroad for his or her high school summer volunteer program, let him or her.

It’d do you and him/her a lot of good.

How To Ensure Safety On Summer Volunteer Programs For High school students.

Vet organizations independently before sending your kids off on any of their programs. Google is here to help your search easier, or you could interact face-to-face with the organization.

I encourage you to ask hard questions of the program coordinator or advisor. We are dealing with teenagers here, and if you don’t ask these questions, who will?

Find out their emergency protocol – should something unpleasant happen while traveling. Although these cases are rare, knowing and preparing for the worst-case scenarios won’t hurt.

Additionally. find out how often they encourage students to contact their parents. This is an essential question cause most students might get caught up so much they won’t even remember.

Another way to ensure your kid’s safety is to request the contact of past participants’ parents.

When it comes to teens’ safety, parents are always on the lookout. They won’t hesitate to share what they know with other parents.

Therefore, get in touch with any parents, and get to know their kids’ experience before signing off on the form.

Continue to ask questions, and don’t settle until you’ve heard the answers that tick off your safety boxes.


Participation in one of these “best summer programs” is not essential to earn admission into a selective college. For example, spending your summer at a local job or internship, or completing a four-credit college course, can prove just as impressive.

However, students seeking an exciting summer experience outside their area while improving their college applicant profile are advised to explore the above.

So when you decide to go for any of these programs, I implore you to start packing days before departure. This will help you take all your personal effects.

Furthermore, don’t forget to vet the organization you’ve chosen to join for this program.

Good Luck



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