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How to Combine STEM and Community Service

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How to Combine STEM and Community Service

Want to combine your interest in science, technology, engineering and/or math with helping others? We looked around for some community service ideas that might put your STEM skills to work.

1. Think old.

Is there council on aging or senior citizens center in your town that needs technology tutors? Yes, older people are more technologically savvy these days but that doesn’t mean people aren’t sometimes overwhelmed by, say, a new phone with multiple apps and security settings. Some senior centers have times that people can bring in tablets or phones for tutorials. See if they need another volunteer expert.

2. Think young.

Local elementary schools or after-school programs need tutors, especially for math, coding and science. See if you can help develop a classroom project that could be used for elementary-age students and share it with a local teacher.


3. Become a data guru.

Are you a whiz at Excel or other database programs? Smaller nonprofits often don’t have the budget to hire someone to manage donor or other databases. They may welcome a teenage volunteer willing to put in a few hours a month to make fund-raising or other administrative tasks easier.

4. Look for a problem.

Is there a nonprofit organization in your town that has a specific goal such as cleaning old gravestones, boosting the harvest at the community garden, or keeping birds from polluting a local pond? What expertise do you have – chemistry, engineering, physics – that could help them might make a difference?

5. Step outdoors.

Especially if you understand the rules of scientific research, environmental organizations will welcome your help with projects like water-quality testing and monitoring wild species – all ways teens can volunteer outdoors! You can start simply with a program like the National Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count, which happens every year in late December and early January.

6. Talk to the animals.

Are you fascinated by biology and animal behavior? A local shelter could use your expertise to exercise or socialize animals before they get put for adoption. And don’t just think cats and dogs. Shelters get rabbits, snakes, ferrets, birds, goats, horses, guinea pigs, almost any animal you can think of.

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