Chloe Park, Reporter

As students get ready for their long awaited summer break, many are beginning to plan their vacations and extracurriculars to prepare for the next school year. While many are waiting to enjoy their sweet time with fun, others are planning to use their time to volunteer at different places, which is helpful for college and is a good way to help the community. 


And for those who are wanting to find places to volunteer over summer break, this article is here to provide them with some ideas. 


One of the most popular places students volunteer over summer is the Orlando Science Center of the Youth Catalyst Team, where students help supervise kids and help out at the center’s science summer camp. Unfortunately this application has been closed for this summer but it is definitely a volunteer opportunity for students to think about if they are interested in science or good with kids. There are two options for students to choose from, Youth Camp Volunteer Team and Youth Visitor Experience Volunteer Team. In order to apply for the Youth Camp Volunteer Team, students must be between the ages of 15 to 17, and for the Youth Visitor Experience Volunteer Team, one must be 13 to 17 years old. Both are very beneficial in a sense that it provides an opportunity to meet new people and mature into a more responsible individual. Karina Verma, an IB sophomore who volunteered at Orlando Science Center in the summer of 2022 speaks on her experience there: “I really enjoyed volunteering at OCS, it truly was a great experience. I met so many genuine people and the kids were so cute. The counselors that were the overall supervisors were super nice too, most of them were college students, some were fresh out of high school and it was really easy to befriend them. I even keep in contact with them sometimes. At the end of the camp week, we all gave each other a hug and exchanged our socials.” As her final she adds that it was a very memorable experience and strongly recommends others to volunteer there. Students who pick the volunteer camp option with the longest shifts are able to earn up to 103 hours of community service. 


Another volunteer service facility is Opportunity, Community, Ability, more known as OCA, which is an organization for children and adults with special disabilities. A freshman IB student, Christine Kim, who will be volunteering at OCA this summer states that: “I hope that as I volunteer at OCA I get to help more and more people with disabilities and help make an impact in their lives.” This volunteer site is not that widely known amongst students however it is a great opportunity to make a direct impact on the community. 


Students who love animals should definitely consider volunteering at the zoo. The zoo allows for students to attend services that help animals and gain experience in this field. Additionally, this form of service allows for zoos to continue to open and operate, while still being able to accept new animals. Winny Zhang, who is hoping to volunteer here, shares  why she thinks this opportunity is beneficial: “I love animals of all kinds. I hope to volunteer at the Sanford Zoo in the near future, since it will allow me to learn more about animals I love.” Another way of volunteering for animal lovers is at local animal shelters. Animal shelters could not survive without volunteers. Volunteering at an animal shelter allows animals of all types to get another chance, while also allowing one to connect to their community.


Overall, volunteering is a great way to serve and connect to your community. From volunteering at a zoo or even at a museum, all forms of volunteering are highly encouraged. Make sure to make use of your time off of school and use it towards something rewarding, yet relaxing.