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11 Ways to Bring your CTE Classroom Volunteering to the Next Level

November 4th, 2018 | 5 min. read

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CTE and Volunteering, Working Hand-In-Hand

It has been said the greatest gift you can give is your time. The benefits of volunteering have lasting impacts, especially for young people as it provides a great way for students to gain insight and improve their communities. These opportunities raise awareness of local organizations and social issues in their own backyards.

Students who volunteer can learn and develop skills, showcase responsibility and add to their résumés. Volunteering offers a unique opportunity in Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes. Students can apply classroom learning to realistic scenarios, while giving back. No matter the subject, volunteering is a valuable and impactful opportunity for every student in CTE.

Each CTE subject area offers unique opportunities for students to fulfill a need within their city. These 11 examples are just a few volunteer opportunities for you and your students to give back to your community.


Opportunity 1: Food Bank and Farm

Does your campus have a thriving greenhouse? What better way to put your agricultural knowledge to good use than at your local food bank and farm? Create a partnership with your local food bank so your produce goes to good use. Afterward, take a field trip to your food bank to help distribute the products and see the impact of agriculture in your own city.  

Bonus: Challenge your classes to a canned food drive! Each class can compete against one another for a prize.

Opportunity 2: Random Acts of Flowers

Take part in a Random Acts of Flowers project! Have your floral design students create their most colorful arrangement. Take the students to your local hospital to share with patients and staff. Students can showcase their arrangement-making skills by adding cheer to someone’s day.

Bonus: If your group has left over flowers or vases Random Acts of Flowers accepts donations.

Opportunity 3: Spend a Day at Your Local Animal Shelter

Get your veterinary science students involved with animal care by taking a service-oriented field trip to your local animal shelter. Your veterinary science students will be able to experience patient care and animal handling first hand. Plus, your group will leave with a rewarding feeling having helped these four-legged souls that are without a family to love and care for them.

Opportunity 4: Collaborate with Habitat for Humanity

Team up with Habitat for Humanity. This organization is always looking for skilled volunteers to help them accomplish their mission. With a goal to build homes, community and hope, this organization is the perfect way for students to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Your students will gain hands-on job site skills while experiencing the rewards of giving.

Opportunity 5: Construct Ramps for the Community

Is your shop class in need of inspiration? Turn projects and able working hands into a way to improve your community. Have your students design and construct ramps for those with disabilities in your area. Spread the word about your cause on social media so local businesses and residents can take part.

Opportunity 6: Client-Customer Encounters at a 5K

Get your student's sales and business administration skills rolling by teaming up with a nonprofit sponsored event. From registering runners at a 5K to collecting donations, these client-customer encounters will help students gain business-related experiences while helping a good cause.

Opportunity 7: Social Media for Small Business 

Social media is imperative to the success of a modern business. Have your students collaborate with a small business or nonprofit like a local museum to develop a social media presence and plan. Students will be able to design content and learn how to use social media in a professional setting.

Opportunity 8: Sewing Pillow Cases for Children

Simple classroom projects can produce meaningful moments for nonprofits and other organizations. Encourage your students to sew a pillowcase project with colorful fabric for patients at your nearest children's hospital. Students will not only get to work on their pattern making and basic sewing but will also bring a smile to a child's face.

Opportunity 9: Meals on Wheels

Senior citizens often go unthought of and find themselves in social isolation. Organizations like Meals on Wheels seek to change that while providing senior citizens with a hot meal. You and your FCS students can take part in making a senior citizen’s day by participating in this program.

Opportunity 10: A Day at the Nursing Home

Nursing homes are always in need of assistance. The health science Industry is always on the lookout for bright young students who have real-world experience and a foundation in the field. Help your students get ahead in their career by forming a partnership with local nursing homes. Your students will get the opportunity to be exposed to the healthcare industry. Students will not only be in direct contact with doctors, nurses, and administrators but they will get a realistic view of patient care procedures.

Opportunity 11: Food for First Responders

Is your law enforcement class eager to get involved with your local police department and emergency responders? Provide lunch for your area police department. Students will not only have the chance to say thank you, but also have the opportunity to speak with officers and investigators about their careers. The department will be grateful, and your students will be more informed about their local police force.

CTE is Making a Difference

It is no secret that CTE is making an active difference in improving the education system, but CTE can also be the key to providing students with the chance to give back, through volunteering. Skills that CTE students acquire in their courses can directly benefit their communities. We hope you will implement volunteering opportunities in your school and encourage you to send us your own ideas, including past or future CTE focused volunteering activities.