Tempe Prep Students Embrace Community Service
By Maya Kostov
Whether sending letters to veterans, sorting medical supplies at Project C.U.R.E., cleaning or gardening on the Tempe Preparatory Academy campus, gym or field, or tutoring fellow peers, Tempe Prep students are very involved in the community.
One volunteer opportunity that is very common among TPA students is Teen Court. Teen Court is a problem-solving court within the juvenile justice system where teens charged with certain types of offenses can be sentenced by a jury of same-aged peers. Their purpose is to provide restorative justice for juveniles who have committed a minor offense. This is by far the easiest way to volunteer through Tempe Prep. Held every other Thursday, Tempe Prep Teen Court lasts two hours and is very rewarding. Senior Hayden Wisneski is a frequent participant of Teen Court and says that “It allows you to be involved in your community and I know I’m making a difference.”
Feed My Starving Children, St. Mary’s Food Bank, St. Vincent De Paul and NourishPhoenix (formerly known as ICM Food and Clothing Bank), are three nonprofit organizations that have amazing workers and love teen volunteers! Feed My Starving Children packs food for malnourished people all around the world. They hope to break the cycle of poverty, and that is a reasonable goal with the help of all the volunteers that go there. They partner with organizations all over the world to get life-saving meals to people who need them the most.
St. Mary’s Food Bank and NourishPhoenix are two very similar food banks that give millions of pounds of food to the hungry every year. The only difference between the two is that NourishPhoenix also gives clothing to people in need. St. Vincent De Paul gives food and clothing to those in need, as well as helps out with furnishing new houses for people in need and has also established a health clinic. They always need volunteers to help, especially towards the end of the summer when they hand out school supplies and backpacks for the new school year.
Tempe Prep Senior Grace McQuaid, who has volunteered at all four places, says, “Especially in these times, it’s very important to help those in need, and it’s a very gratifying experience!” All three of these organizations are also group friendly, so you can go help with all of your friends!
Many teenagers are naturally well-versed in all things technology, which is great because there are also many opportunities online! Teensvolunteer.org offers over 600 volunteer opportunities for students. Options include transcribing records for the National Archives, tutoring students online, helping visually impaired people remotely on an app, and many more!
All of their in-person volunteer options are in California but you can still participate in many online activities. Through their Instagram, @teensvolunteer, you can find tons of cool opportunities with easy access. You can become a pen pal for senior citizens or read books to children virtually through WordsAlive. If you feel confident in your grammar and writing skills, you can help create a language course for non-native speakers or help foreign students practice their English.
If you are passionate about climate change and conservation, you can volunteer with a student nonprofit dedicated to ocean conservancy or work with OneEarth, an organization determined to spread awareness about what’s going on in the environment around the world. If you love art and design, you can help make holiday cards for the less fortunate or make fun drawings for senior citizens.
If you’d like to have an even bigger role in TeensVolunteer, they have an ambassador program where you can advocate all those opportunities to your friends! The deadline for this has passed but more information can be found on their page. The best thing about these opportunities is they are mostly all available for students 13 years and older!
About Tempe Prep: Tempe Preparatory Academy is a tuition-free public charter school in Tempe for students in grades 6-12 that provides a nationally acclaimed liberal arts education based on the Great Books of Western Civilization with an exceptional math, science, foreign language, humanities, and fine arts curriculum. Tempe Prep has been recognized by the Arizona Board of Regents as having the highest percentage of college graduates in the state and has been named the #1 high school in Arizona by Newsweek (America’s Top High Schools 2016). For more information about enrolling at Tempe Prep, visit the school’s website at tempeprep.org.