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In our current economic and political meltdown, charities are in desperate need. Volunteer your time, and some cash if you have it. Pick areas of charity that speak to your heart, and help those groups out!

As you know if you read my pages, I do not support charities or businesses (Such as Proctor and Gamble) that test on animals.

Volunteering is an Charitable Extracurricular Activity...


Volunteering refers to those things you do to help others, sometimes the less fortunate, or to support a cause you support. The word that defines tasks you do for others, to make you feel good is Altruism.(SAT word) The activities you do out of a genuine concern for others is charity.

Charity and helping others is a unique part of the American culture, and we support that ideal in many ways, and with intensive commitment.

Rather than trying to be involved in a lot of causes, choose a couple of activities that you like, and stick with them. Consistency is a plus with the colleges.

Since many high schools require a certain number of hours toward graduation, check out your high school's Web site for a list of community activities, or ask in the counseling office.

So, is that considered "extracurricular?"


generally refers to those activities that involve things like sports, the school paper, dance, theater, music, leadership, yearbook, student body offices and possibly part-time jobs.

Volunteering is a different kind of extracurricular activity that includes such things as working with seniors, at animal shelters, working with disabled, with children's groups, coaching children in sports programs, and other similar activities.

Generally one is not paid for these from-the-heart activities

You need both for your college admissions portfolio.

These days many high schools require 20 units of community service from students in their senior year. In some areas it may be difficult to find places to fulfill this requirement since it has become a requirement for Civics classes.

For college admissions purposes, and for your self-growth, you need to start getting involved early in your high school career. Volunteer activities provide you with opportunities to expand of your understanding of those around you. Keep a list of your activities in your brag book, and jot down any thoughts you may have about the experience for use in your application essays.

If you know your career goals, try to find something that relates to those interests, such as helping at a hospital if you plan a career in a health field.

When do I tell colleges about my experiences in volunteering?

Colleges and universities have a place on their applications where you will list these activities. Be sure to study your placements, and put the most important at the top.

In addition, those schools requiring essays or short answer responses frequently include essay topics about charitable work and your reflections on your experiences.

How would a school know if I was telling the truth or making it up?

Many schools choose some applications randomly and conduct investigations into the student's claims by contacting the organization listed on the application.

The following list may give you some ideas...

In Your Community:

  • Check local newspapers

  • Determine if your town has a Volunteer Center and go there or call

  • Look in your high school counseling office

  • Visit your cities Parks and Recreation Departments for positions for such things as coaching young children in sports or day care activities,

  • Check out organizations that work with disabled children, they always need help, and it is very rewarding

  • Ask your local library about tutoring or literacy programs

  • Stop by the Senior Centers and convalescent hospitals to see if they need some help

  • Call the volunteer coordinators at local zoos. One zoo I know of uses teen-agers to sweep out the Gorilla areas. While this may have some negative aspects, think of it-gorillas!

  • Call your county animal shelter and ask for the animal rescue group's phone number, or call the Humane Society, SPCA, or other animal rescue organizations in your area

  • Be sure you are involved at your church, mosque, or synagogue

Investigate some national charities with branches in your area. Always check these organizations out on their web sites, and on the websites of organizations that monitor non-profits such as

Charity Navigator

This organization tracks and rates charities with criteria such as their profits, percentage of contributions going to the stated goals of the organization, effectiveness. It lists and describes charities by numerous categories.

A sampling of some highly regarded charities appears below. These are charities that will have local involvement and activism, rather only national. Scout out other charities with local groups in your area.

Prison Fellowship Angel Tree Program

provides support and help for the children of men and women in prison. Angel Tree is part of the larger Prison Fellowship program, which works directly with prisoners.

The Angel Tree program, through private donations, volunteers, church participation and corporate sponsorship, provides summer camps, after school programs and help for these children. In addition Angel Tree's yearly mission is to provide each child with back-to-school clothes, Christmas and birthday presents, all given to the child as if from their absent parent.

Easter Seals: Helping people with disabilities: GREAT organization

I have tried to pick the best of the best for these pages.

I volunteer with Easter Seals and they are a wonderful organization. Easter Seals and its partner organizations work with mentally and physically handicapped children and adults.

The good they do, and the services they provide or coordinate. are of immense importance to those who suffer from disabilities and to their families.

National Charity League: (NCL) Mothers and daughters helping their communities. Members of this very active organization manage to serve their communities in a wide array of activities, and NCL offers an excellent opportunity for mothers and daughters to share in this experience.

Animal Charities of America: Protecting pets, wildlife and endangered species

A wide variety of worthy causes here, check to find those operating in your backyard, so to speak.

The Sierra Club: With the modest goal of saving the planet, The Sierra Club offers something for everyone.They have different chapters for different groups of members, which provides all kinds of diversity from which to choose. If you live, or go to school near a chapter, get involved. It is a way to meet people, participate in all kinds of activities, save the planet

Special Olympics. Great charity. Get involved.

Summer Programs Abroad for High School Students

Defenders of Wildlife, One of the Best! This is an amazing organization, and named as one of the best charities around. If you live near any of their offices, this is a place to volunteer.Currently involved in saving the wolves on the Northern Plains of the continental U.S. from ranchers who shoot them. Also working hard to end aerial hunting (!!! Is that a sport?) in Alaska. Like most animal and conservation organizations, these people are dedicated to preserving wildlife and their habitats.

Greenpeace: a pioneer in efforts to save the oceans and marine life, Greenpeace was active early on to save the seals in Newfoundland from the annual slaughter of over 300,000 babies by Norwegian Fisherman, with the consent of the Canadian government. This slaughter, in which the hunters skin the babies alive while their mothers try to hide them, resumed with vigor a few years ago. It is the largest slaughter of mammals in the world, even surpassing the role of Japan in horrific practices.

Later they engaged in such activities as putting themselves in the way of the harpoons from whaling vessels, and were instrumental in heightened awareness about marine life, and for anti-whaling policies enacted by most developed countries.

They were a prime mover in the Tuna boycott of the 1980s, which resulted in Dolphin-safe Tuna regulations for American Tuna Companies. This victory, by-the-way, is threatened by NAFTA regulations. Be sure to check the Tuna cans.

They also work to reduce pollution and toxic waste.

National Resources Defense Council: An excellent resource for environmental actions groups. Browse their site and take your pick.

The Humane Society of the United States (also international) Perhaps the oldest animal protection organization in the world; the work they do is amazing.

Baghad Buddies:Help U.S. Soldiers rescuing abandoned, wounded dogs in War

Click here for volunteer support groups for those with specific diseases, and volunteer information, offering information and help.

Search opportunities by area, cause, name, or category

This site maintains a large list of charities, and not only provides a directory of the groups by category, name, location, and activity, it also rates each group by such criteria as financial status and responsibility, ratio of funds collected/funds used for expressed purpose of the charity, and percentage of funds used for fund-raising.

When volunteering to help with the local chapter of a national group, learn the facts about the organization, and their ratios of money donated, and the percent of that money that actually goes to meet the organization's stated purpose.

Be sure you agree with their ideals, methods. I, for instance, do not give money to any charity that tests on animals, nor do I purchase products from companies that test on animals.

More Local Volunteering Information

Check out local possibilities in the following places:

NewspapersLibrariesHigh School Counseling officesHigh School organizationsService Groups, ClubsLocal Volunteer officesHospitalsAnimal sheltersPolitical groups, campaignsCity programs, such as sports, educational programs for childrenVeterans' organizationsThrift shopsMuseumsGroups for children and adults with special needs

I'll add to this list as I come up with ideas. If you have suggestions please email them to me.

The Case Against Animal Testing (Physicians for Responsible Medicine)

Aniaml testing: A sad, horrible statement about our culture,

This is about the only political statement you will see on my pages. For those who maintain that "animals were put here for our use." I have to wonder who told us that we have a right to submit animals - dogs, cats, rats, mice and primates - to lives of pain and torture. There are dog breeders who advertise their dogs for sale and being docile and easy to use for research (torture.)

People steal dogs and cats, by the way, to sell to research labs.

The following list is of companies that manufacture household products and cosmetics - for how many decades.

Keep in mind that anytime humans come in contact with animals, the animals suffer. Think about the meat, poultry industry, a violent and inhumane industry.

I do not give to charities that test, do not purchase products, knowingly, that test, and give no money to my alma mater when they ask me for donations to their programs that test on animals, like anything to do with the behavioral sciences.

List of companies that test (often horrifically) on animals: I boycott their products

Not all Cultures are Alike

Hindus Slaughter 250,000 animals for religious ceremonies.

Many cultures, while not necessarily all members of that culture, are routinely horrific to animals - Russia, Japan, most of Asia, the Middle East - horrific practices that would shock you.

When you see animal abuse in our own country, report it to the police. It is illegal in the U.S. and Canada, as well as most countries in Western Europe. Canada, of course, sponsors the worst, and most heartbreaking slaughter, of mammals in the world, while probably individually not allowing cruelty to domestic animals.

Study after study shows us that while not all animal abusers end up in prison for violence toward humans, all abusers in prison started out abusing animals, usually moving from animals to children and then sometimes to adults.

Don't overlook this: call the police.

Visit the Extracurricular page

Cosmetics and household products tested on animals: for years!


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