Volunteering builds character, empathy and selflessness, especially in children and teens. For teenagers, volunteering can fulfill community service requirements or give them a competitive advantage in college scholarship opportunities. Houston’s diversity lends itself to hosting a slew of charitable organizations perfect for families seeking to volunteer. Choose from the best of the best right here in Houston.

Photo Credit: houstonspca.org

Houston SPCA
900 Portway Dr.

Houston, TX 77024-8022
(713) 869-SPCA (7722)

Hours: Mon to Fri – 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sat to Sun – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.appointment-only admissions daily – 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Volunteer ages: 15 and up

The Houston SPCA is the largest animal shelter in the city. Their shelter rescues cats, dogs, and other small animals and even farm animals. These animals are cared for and presented for adoption to the public. Children at least 15 years old can participate in the Houston SPCA volunteer program. Volunteers must attend an orientation session and commit to volunteering at least 2 hours per week. Volunteers will help clean animal cages, assist families with choosing a pet for adoption, and walk animals.

Related: How to Train Children to Behave with Pets

Photo Credit: ThinkStock

Houston Food Bank


535 Portwall St.
Houston, TX 77029
(713) 223-3700

Hours: Mon to Wed – 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Tues, Thurs and Fri – 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sat – 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Keegan Center
2445 North Freeway
Houston, TX 77009

Volunteer Ages: 16 to 18

The Houston Food Bank welcomes volunteers to assist in providing food to food pantries and soup kitchens across the city. To register as a volunteer, kids must fill out a volunteer form and a minor liability waiver. High school students ages 16 to 18 may participate in the Houston Food Bank’s Student Heroes 12-week program to cultivate their customer-service skills. Volunteer on an individual basis or in church, school or community groups.

Photo Credit: Meca-houston

Multicultural Education and Counseling Through the Arts
1900 Kane St.

Houston, TX 77007
(713) 802-9370

Hours: Mon to Fri – 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Volunteer Ages: 13 to 17

MECA offers cultural enrichment to underserved and underprivileged youth. Volunteer opportunities include tutoring other youth after school and serving as mentors. Additional volunteers are needed for special events including the Bayou City Arts Festival and the Día de los Muertos Festival. Volunteers meet with MECA staff to best determine how their skills and prior experience can best be utilized.

Photo Credit: ThinkStock

Japhet Creek Nature Conservancy
4510 Inman

Houston, TX 77020
(713) 674-2528

Minimum Age to Volunteer: 5 and up with an adult

Clean-up volunteers pick up trash and debris, plant trees and bushes, and spread mulch at Japhet Creek Nature Conservancy. Gloves and tools are provided to all volunteers. The conservancy works to protect Japhet Creek Linear Park near Buffalo Bayou by organizing volunteer events through local businesses, organizations and individuals.