Identifying Career Interests in the Volunteer and Government Sectors

9, 10, 11, 12

Students will use various investigative procedures to compile a list of government or volunteer service opportunities.

Lesson Rating 
PrintVariable (Research options may stretch over several weeks as students continue their regular classroom lessons.)

The learner will:

  • compile a list of service opportunities available in the community.
  • investigate possible volunteer opportunities that match their interests and/or goals.
  • Telephone books
  • Survey form
  • We the People Project—CareerArea Inventory (Attachment One)
  • Application for Appointment (Attachment Two)
  • We the People—Volunteer Contract (Attachment Three)
  • Holidstic Scoring Guide for Civic Writing (Attachment Four)


  1. In preparation for this lesson, set aside an area of bulletin board space for this project (or use wall space if bulletin board space is not available). Put large sheets of blank paper on the board with the following headings: Government, Charities, Religious Groups, Businesses and Miscellaneous. (Feel free to add any other categories as needed.

  2. Explain to the class that they will be using their investigative skills to determine where volunteer opportunities exist in the community. Ask students to select an area of interest that fits one of the categories on the board and divide themselves into teams for each area. Their task will be to fill in the blank space under their category name with actual existing volunteer programs and information. Using the telephone directory, the Internet, letters to organizations, telephone calls, etc., students are to compile an accurate list for their categories that can be used to assist prospective volunteers wishing to provide service.

  3. As a whole group, ask students to devise a form that will provide the type of information they will wish to have when posting their data. Examples might include: name of organization, address, phone number, contact person, type of volunteer service needed, days and times volunteer service can be done. Once students have devised the questions for the form, it should be placed on the board and used as the model for student inquiries (or as an option, photocopy the form and make the copies readily available to the class for use during the project).

  4. Allow students to meet as a team and devise their strategy for researching their topic area. Each team should build in a verification system to make sure that adequate information has been provided. Every time a volunteer opportunity is verified, it should be posted on the bulletin board.

  5. As students begin to work on their lists, it may be helpful for them to know their fellow students' areas of interest. If such is the case, distribute the "Career Area Inventory" and ask students to fill it in (either anonymously or with names). When completed, distribute the forms to the research teams for use in their search. An additional source of information will be the Student Volunteerism Surveys completed in Lesson Two. These will provide names of groups already receiving the assistance of student volunteers or their families.

  6. As students become interested in various volunteer opportunities, they may wish to contact those sites and arrange to visit them or become a volunteer. As this occurs, students should be asked to provide a short oral report to the class on their experiences. In addition to the kinds of questions originally posted on the student data forms, students should address the topic of whether this volunteer experience is making a viable contribution to the community. It should also discuss how the student feels she/he is better off for volunteering.

  7. For school districts wishing to sanction this type of program, various forms are available as models for use with this project. These include an application for appointment and an approval contract requiring authorization signatures.


Ask students to write an essay on the following question: Based on your experience compiling the volunteer service list (and participating in a volunteer experience), is volunteerism still making a valuable contribution in our area? Use the Holistic Scoring Guide For Civic Writing (see Attachment Four).

Cross Curriculum 

Based on their own interests, students will have the option of visiting or volunteering at various service opportunities.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark HS.10 Identify the training or education needed for civil society sector jobs.