Albuquerque, in the heart of New Mexico, offers teenagers many opportunities to volunteer. Volunteering helps teenagers complete community service hours required for graduation, to compete for scholarships and to narrow down which fields they want to study in college. More importantly, it provides teens a way to give back to their communities and to develop a sense of compassion and empathy.
Joy Junction serves the homeless in Albuquerque, and its volunteer opportunities are available to kids and adults. Some of the assignments include tutoring adults, reading to kids and serving meals. The Road Runner Food Bank in Albuquerque offers teenagers several opportunities to volunteer, as it works to feed the hungry in New Mexico. Volunteers may clean, sort food, repack bulk foods into smaller packages or provide clerical support.
Teens who are at least 16 and enjoy working with younger kids and nature may volunteer at Bio Park as Conservation Camp Counselors. Counselors help with Camp BioPark, which takes place at places like the city’s aquarium and zoo. Teens 16 and older can also volunteer as Horticulture and Touchpool Volunteers. Teens age 18 and 19 can also work as BioVan Rangers, introducing the area's wildlife to local elementary students, or volunteer as docents and greeters at the BioPark. Teens 14 and older can serve as Nature Guides at the Bio Park. The Animal Welfare department accepts volunteers aged 18 and older. They can walk dogs, serve as greeters, clean kennels and work at special events.
Health Care System
The University of New Mexico hospital system has a formal arrangement with several schools that allows it to provide mentorship and volunteer opportunities for teenagers age 14 to 18. Teens interested in serving veterans might enjoy working in New Mexico’s Veterans’ Administration Health Care System; young volunteers do everything from playing games with veterans to helping patients with meal times. Teens interested in helping families with children in the hospital might enjoy working at the Ronald McDonald House in Albuquerque; volunteer tasks might include light cleaning or clerical tasks.
Education and Culture
Teens interested in art and science might enjoy volunteering at Explora, which offers the public interactive opportunities to learn about art, science and technology. It accepts volunteers aged 14 and older to help guide visitors, assist at special events and do other tasks. The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center recruits teens to serve as museum docents. Teens can also help refugee children learn to speak English and to succeed at school through Catholic Charities or teach people to read with the American Youth Literacy Foundation.
- City of Albuquerque: Information about Volunteering With Animal Welfare
- Joy Junction: Instructions for Volunteering at Joy Junction
- City of Albuquerque: Conservation Camp Counselors
- University of New Mexico Hospitals: Teens
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – New Mexico VA Health Care System: Youth Volunteers
- Ronald McDonald House Charities of New Mexico: Volunteer
- Explora: Volunteer
- Road Runner Food Bank: Volunteer in Albuquerque and Las Cruces
- The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center: Volunteer
- Catholic Charities: Volunteer Opportunities
- Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images