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Volunteer opportunities for high school students

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Military families new to Washington state will discover that like any other duty station, public schools have a number of requirements exclusive to graduation in their districts. 

In Washington, one of the big programs involves as many as 100 hours of volunteer community service each year.

Called the Culminating Project, this program is designed to help students in grades 10 through 12 plan for their future, develop their leadership skills, support their community, and create opportunities to be more competitive in the college selection process as well as the job market.

Regardless of the projects students are required by their district to complete each year, every student is required to complete volunteer service in their local community. Requirements are as follows: sophomores, 5 hours; juniors, 10 hours; seniors, 20 hours.

In addition to the Culminating Project service hours, high school students can earn a Volunteer Service Award which requires that they complete an additional 80 hours or more of volunteer service required for their grade level: Grade 10 - 85 total hours, (5 Hours Required + 80 Hours Additional); Grade 11 -   90 Hours Total (10 Hours Required + 80 Hours Additional), and Grade 12 - 100 Hours Total (20 Hours Required + 80 Hours Additional).  Each high school has different requirements.  Check with the school guidance counselor to determine exact requirements for each grade level at your school.

Below is a list of non-profit organizations that offer volunteer opportunities that your student may want to use to complete their community service requirements. 

Places to Volunteer

Allenmore Hospital
Contact: Volunteer coordinator, (253) 459-6584.
Need volunteers to play the piano in the lobby.

American Diabetes Association
Contact: Volunteer Coordinator, (253) 241-3718
Volunteers needed for the South Sound Diabetes Walk

Broadway Center for the Arts
Contact: Peggy Brown, (253) 591-5385
Must be at least 16 years old.  Need ushers, ticket takers, and greeters.  Dress code required.  Events run from 6 to 10 p.m.

Catholic Community Services Hospitality Kitchen
Contact: Rochelle Hamel,
Form a group of 6 to 8 people and serve breakfast and lunch to people in need. Each student must submit to a background check and interview.  At least one adult must supervise each group.

The Children's Museum of Tacoma
Contact: Deeann Marsh, (253) 627-6031
Must be at least 16 years old.

City of University Place Volunteer Center
Contact: Julie Kerrigan, (253) 564-6373
Mentor youth, park cleanup and city project development.

Families Unlimited Network
Contact: Barbara Severson, (253) 460-3134
Support families in need by obtaining food, and daycare support.

Franke Tobey Jones Retirement Centers
Contact: Terri Vickery, (253) 752-6621
Looking for assistants for seniors to help Bingo, dance, sing, and help with crafts.
Activities usually last for one hour from 3:15 to 4:15 p.m.

Habitat for Humanity
Contact: Cassandra Jarles, (253) 627-5626
Must be 16 years old.  Requires one hour long training session.

Habitat for Humanity's ReStore
Contact: Robert Estrada, (253) 779-8149
This is a recycling store that supports the Habitat for Humanity program by selling building materials and home improvement items. Students must be at least 16-years-old to work in the store.   

Metro Parks Tacoma
Contact: Parker Ayers, (253) 591-5314
Assist with the Christmas Cruise, setup and cleanup and facilitate the check in; Santa Event, help with event setup and cleanup, assist with photo station, decorations and craft station, as well as helping with general events.

MultiCare Health Care
Contact: Volunteer Coordinator, (253) 403-1005
7 multi-care facilities in Pierce County are looking for volunteers for events and all areas of the hospital.

Need a Break Services
Contact: Julie Washburn, (253) 284-4282
Work with a crew and help disabled or elderly citizens in their community with moving, home repairs, and yard work.

Operation Hands-On
Contact: Volunteer office, (253) 273-9616
This is a household assistance program.

Pierce County Conservation District Stream Team
Contact: Jayme Pleasants, (253) 845-2973
Help plant and maintain native plants in district parks, and monitor water quality in local streams.

Pierce County Humane Society
Contact: Monica Wylie, (253) 383-2722, ext. 5808
Be trained to work with animals in the shelter, foster kittens for 30 days, or raise funds to help the society.

Point Defiance Zoo
Contact: Volunteer Office, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
5400 N. Pearl St., Tacoma, WA 98407, 404-3687
Volunteers can engage in a number of activities as a zoo volunteer.  The positions are coveted so watch for application and other deadlines.  At the zoo, students can talk with and educate zoo guests and camp participants about the animals, guide activities in exhibit areas, work with summer camp staff, set up and provide instruction on crafts, activities and games during summer camp, and other designated activities.

Positive Approach Doggy Daycare
Contact: Volunteer office, (253) 627-4275
Volunteer to help with dogs in a daycare setting.

Tacoma Art Museum
Contact: Janae, (253) 272-4258
Assist as a tour guide or work in the library, or the arts and crafts room.

Tacoma Audubon Society
Contact: Volunteer office, (253) 565- 9278
Teach younger students about nature, be a nature camp leader, take pictures and make maps.

Tacoma Goodwill
Contact: Volunteer office, (253) 584-7980
Various jobs available.

Tacoma Museum of Glass
Contact: Ryan Branchini, (253) 284-4729
Assist as a tour guide, assist visiting artists, or assist in the Arts and Crafts room.

Tacoma Rescue Mission
Contact: Juliet, (253) 383-4462
Support community members in crisis.

United Way Pierce County
Contact: Bethany Opstedal, (253) 597-6685

University Place Library/ Youth Campaign
Contact: Stephanie Levine, (253) 565-9024
Help plan events and volunteer to run events.  Work on the youth sub-committee every Thursday at the UP library.  Or help with events such as the Read-A-Thon, Fun Run, UP Festival Event, and the Teen Golf Tournament.

Washington State History Museum
Contact: Magda Niezse, (253) 272-3500
Be a tour guide at the museum. You must attend 6 training sessions on Thursday nights from 6 to 8 p.m. A nine-month commitment required for one day a week.

YMCA Tacoma
Contact: Carla Larson, (253) 564-YMCA
You can volunteer to help with one-time events or for long-term support.

Other Web sites:

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