Spring Break is just around the corner and summertime will be here before you know it. Both are great opportunities to contribute to your community and get a bit of a competitive edge to help meet your college and career goals. Volunteer service shows that you have initiative, a sense of responsibility and a willingness to go above and beyond expectations — all qualities that will help to set you apart from others when vying for a spot in your chosen college or competing for a new job position.
But don’t let your community spirit last only throughout the break. Truly impressive service calls for long-term commitment or unique societal problem solving.
Here are five examples of the types of teen projects that wowed college admissions specialist and, more importantly, made positive differences in their communities:
1. An Advanced Placement Spanish student used her language skills to launch an evening English class for to Spanish-speaking parents at an elementary school in her community.
2. A chess club president took her talents to the inner city, teaching the game to disadvantaged children and earning national recognition for her pilot program.
3. One high school student who watched his brother struggle with a terminal illness throughout his childhood launched a series of collection drives to provide young patients of his local Ronald McDonald House with gently used toys for comfort.
4. Another realized that his test prep books would go to waste sitting on the shelf long after his SATs and other exams were over, so he created a charity that collected these books and donated them to schools and libraries for use to other students free of charge.
5. One young activist was still in high school when he began a social media campaign to raise awareness of shelter pet and animal cruelty issues — a move that since has grown into a nonprofit organization with 50,000 members and chapters in nearly 20 states.
Teens, how do you contribute to your community? Post your stories and ideas on the Project SOS Facebook Fan Page.