What High School Students Need to Know About Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteering as a high school student is a great way to connect with people, build helpful life and career skills, and learn more about yourself. In this article, we share tips to help you figure out how to volunteer as a teen in Canada and where to find opportunities that fit your interests and future goals.

What are the benefits of volunteering?

Between school assignments, a part-time job, sports, and hanging out with friends, it may be hard to imagine adding volunteering to your already busy schedule. Whether you need volunteer hours to complete high school, or just want to make a difference, there are several benefits to taking the time to help others. 

1. Gain experience

Volunteering can help you prepare for a future job or internship opportunity. Skills like communication, planning, teamwork, and problem solving are transferable skills that can be useful, regardless of what work you end up doing in the future. Developing these skills can also build your resume and help you stand out from other applicants.

Volunteering also gives you the opportunity to meet people from different career paths or backgrounds who share similar interests. Those interactions could be the start of finding a mentor or a new friend. 

2. Explore your interests

Since volunteer opportunities are available across different industries, it can be a good way to explore different careers or interests. If you want to be a vet, consider volunteering at an animal shelter. Or if you see a career in the arts, volunteer for a film festival. While you won’t get paid, you’ll gain a better understanding of whether a career is right for you, while doing something you’re passionate about.

3. Make a difference

As a volunteer, you have the opportunity to build relationships with different people in your community or an organization you believe in and make a direct impact. It could be as simple as sorting out cans at your local food bank, planting trees, or being a reading buddy to a younger child. These small acts can make a big difference! 

4. Volunteering is good for you

As an activity that involves a lot of socializing, volunteering helps you connect with people. One benefit of this is increased dopamine levels (which over time can lead to reduced stress). Volunteer activity that allows you to work outdoors could also potentially make you more active, and help boost your immunity and improve your breathing. 

Read more: What teens need to know about getting an internship in Canada.

Do you need volunteer hours to graduate high school in Canada?

Depending on where you live in Canada, high school students are required to complete between 25 to 40 hours of volunteer hours before they graduate. Not all volunteering is equal, which is why it’s important to make sure that the volunteer work you do is eligible for volunteer hours with your school board. This checklist created by the Toronto District School Board lists some ineligible volunteer activities. Try to clarify this with a teacher at your school or the volunteer organizations you are applying to if you’re not sure.

ProvinceVolunteer requirements
British ColumbiaA minimum of 30 hours of paid, career preparation or volunteer community service is a graduation requirement for all BC secondary school students. 
ManitobaStudents can complete 110 hours to obtain a full high school credit (1.0) or 55 hours for a half credit (0.5).
Newfoundland and LabradorSenior high students are required to complete 30 hours of community contribution.
OntarioStudents are required to complete a minimum 40 hours of community involvement activities as part of the requirements for an Ontario Secondary School Diploma.
Prince Edward IslandStudents are required to volunteer a minimum of 30 hours, up to a maximum of 100 hours. Students can accumulate volunteer hours as soon as they are in Grade 11.
QuebecHigh school students must complete a minimum of 30 hours of community service to graduate. 
SaskatchewanStudents in Grades 10 to 12 can receive a high school credit for volunteering 100 hours of their personal time.

How do high school students find volunteer opportunities?

You want to complete your volunteer hours, but perhaps you feel overwhelmed figuring out how to start. To make the process easier we recommend breaking it down into three simple steps:

1. Reflect

When finding a volunteer opportunity, a good place to start is by narrowing down what you are passionate about and what type of impact you want to make. Take a few minutes to write out what activities you’ve enjoyed in the past. Or brainstorm what activities you haven’t tried yet but would love to. These lists can help you figure out what you enjoy or what skills you can share as a volunteer. This self-assessment created by Volunteer Canada has a checklist of skills to help you. 

2. Research

Now that you have a better idea of what kind of volunteer work you would like to do, you can start researching organizations where you can volunteer. A good place to start is by asking teachers, family members or friends if there are any organizations they would recommend. Volunteer Canada is also a great resource to help you start planning your volunteer journey.

3. Reach out

The final step of this process is to apply for different volunteer opportunities. If you are waiting to hear back from an organization or they are taking time to get back to you, consider following up with an email or phone call expressing your interest in volunteering with them. 

Where to volunteer as a high school student

No matter what your interest or skill set, there’s likely a volunteer opportunity for you. We’ve highlighted a few places to start your search below. Volunteer Canada also lists organizations in different industries on their website. Since the pandemic, there are also more virtual volunteer opportunities available.

In your community 

Check your community or town’s website or community centre website for volunteer opportunities. Some of these opportunities are often seasonal, so it’s a good idea to apply early if you’re looking for an opportunity during peak times like summer or spring.

Arts organizations

Ask about volunteer opportunities at museums, art galleries or independent arts organizations. Start by reaching out to arts organizations you are interested in. Many larger arts organizations will have a person who is responsible for volunteers, so reach out to them directly to see what sorts of opportunities might be available.

Sports and recreation

Volunteering with a sports organization or recreational centre is an awesome way to stay fit and complete your volunteer hours. Reach out to your local hockey team, YMCA or yoga studio near you to see if they might be looking for volunteers to help run their programs. 


If you enjoy spending time outdoors, volunteering at an organization that supports the environment might be for you. Looking for opportunities at organizations like Nature Conservancy Canada is one way you can start searching for opportunities like this. 

Read more: 10 climate change activists making a difference.

Although finding the right volunteer opportunity might feel overwhelming, donating your time has long-term benefits for both you and the people you help. Volunteering can also introduce you to industries you see yourself having a career in and build friendships. Regardless of where you decide to volunteer, this high school graduation requirement can feel less like a chore and more like a fulfilling experience.

Download the Mydoh app to help kids and teens build confidence to manage their money and grow to become financially independent. 

How to Decorate Your Bedroom on a Budget

It’s time to put away those stuffies, pack up the LEGO, and upgrade from a single bed. You’re ready to transform your room into a personal paradise. You’ve been scouring TikTok and Pinterest for ideas that will better reflect who you are now. You’re aware it’s going to take effort and money to realize your big vision for your space, so how can you make your room dreams a reality without breaking the bank? 

We’ve got you! In this article, we’ll take you step-by-step through nine budget-friendly decorating tips that will help you create a cozy and stylish space where you can unwind, chill, and express yourself. 

1. Start with a blank canvas

Having a blank canvas to work with when planning a bedroom redecoration project helps you see what could fit and what needs to go. It’s hard to know what you’re working with when you can barely see your floor or the inside of your closet. 

Start by decluttering, A.K.A. clearing out your room. Resist organizing when you start, and don’t get lost re-reading your old favourite books. Make it fun! Put on a favourite playlist and consider inviting a friend or rope an adult into helping you out. Create four piles: keep, toss, donate, and sell. 

Once your piles are sorted, toss out anything you no longer need and donate those old toys. Put anything in your keep pile that you don’t need immediately in storage and put away your regular-use items like clothes. Photograph anything you’d like to sell for posting on buy-and-sell groups or apps or consider taking them to a thrifting consignment store. Bonus: Any money made by selling your gently used items can go towards funding your new room!

Black teen boy leaning back in decorated bedroom at his desk with wall art in the background

2. Make a plan 

Now that you’ve got “a blank space, baby,” and a sense of what your furniture/storage needs are, start your planning phase. Make sure to measure first (you can use the measuring app on your smartphone) and jot down the measurements someplace so you won’t lose them. Then, use graph paper or a free design layout app to play with the placement of bigger items like a bed or a desk.

Watch some “teen bedroom decor” transformations on TikTok for inspo. Create a mood board on Pinterest to get a sense of your aesthetic. Follow hashtags like #room-decor and #teen-rooms, then layer in your obsessions to get the right vibe. Are you a maximalist or a minimalist, a sports, plant or cat lover? Do you have favourite bands or artists? Do stuffies get to stay, and which ones?

3. Create a budget 

Set a budget based on how much you have saved and how much you can potentially earn or from an allowance or your part-time job.Make a list of your must-haves vs. nice-to-have. Do you need new furniture, or can you update your existing bed or dresser with some DIY hacks? Make sure you have the consent of your parents or caregivers before you buy any big-ticket items, commit to changing wall colours, or begin any construction project. 

What needs to be completed first before you move on to the finer details? Build out your project plan to reflect your budget and how much time each renovation or redecorating task will take.

Teen girl lying on pallet bed in her bedroom with string lights in the background

4. Play with lighting

Getting lighting right can be the difference between blah and vibes. Luckily, you don’t have to spend a fortune to create an enchanting atmosphere. Consider adding some inexpensive options like second-hand lamps, your parents’ old lava lamp, or go wild with flexible LED strip lights, which come in various colours and can easily attach to your walls, around your bed frame, or even behind your desk. Don’t forget to consider task lighting like lamps if you read or do homework in your room.

5. Add greenery 

Plants are a great way to breathe life into your space. Whether you opt for real or fake plants, they add a touch of nature and calm to your room. If you’re not sure about taking care of real plants, you can choose low-maintenance ones like succulents. Fake vines and dried flowers can also bring a pop of nature without the need for daily watering. Save money by asking friends and family for clippings or repottings of their overgrown houseplants.

Beautiful teen bedroom with bed, and wall art gallery in the background

Gallery walls are a budget-friendly way to showcase your personality and passions. Find posters, prints, or even postcards that resonate with your style. Scour garage sales and thrift shops to save money on frames, which are typically expensive. Arrange your chosen pieces into a gallery wall that tells a story about you and your interests.

One of the best ways to add a personal touch to your room without spending a fortune is by creating your own artwork. You don’t need to be a professional artist to make something beautiful. Try your hand at painting, sketching, or even digital art. Canva, a free online tool, offers numerous templates and design ideas. Express your interests, favourite quotes, or even create a mural that represents your personality.

7. Hang wallpaper

When it comes to personalizing your space, wallpaper can be a game-changer. You don’t need to cover every wall; a single accent wall can make a bold statement. Look for peel-and-stick or removable wallpaper options that allow you to change up your room’s look without a major commitment. Ask around for leftovers from other people’s past wallpaper projects or visit a construction remnants store, like Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, for inexpensive rolls. 

Light and airy teen bedroom with pink and orange accessories

8. Add texture

Texture can make your room cozier and more inviting. Smooth textures like silks and satins create a sleek feel, while chunkier textures promote warmth. Consider adding pillows, throws, and accessories that reflect your personality and the vibe you want to create. If you have a plain headboard, you can DIY it by adding fabric, paint, or even some LED lights. You can also find unique lampshades that add a touch of elegance to your space without breaking the bank. 

9. Thrift for retro accessories 

Thrift stores and garage sales are goldmines for finding retro or vintage accessories that add character to your room. You can discover unique items like old records, vintage mirrors, or quirky lamps that make your space truly one-of-a-kind. Thrifting is not only budget-friendly but also a sustainable way to decorate. Sometimes, one unique find that speaks to you can help anchor your entire design project.

Homemade bedroom decoration gold star strung up with cotton ball clouds

10. DIY decor

TikTok, Pinterest, and YouTube overflow with fantastic DIY ideas that can add a personal touch to your room. The big-ticket item you’re coveting might be achievable for a fraction of the cost with a trip to the craft or hardware store. 

Here are some popular crafts to consider:

Glass Music Plaque

Consider creating a Glass Music Plaque using an inexpensive dollar-store 8 x 10 frame (preferably with clear plastic vs. glass) and your home printer. Select your favourite song and save a screenshot of the album cover with the music app buttons. Then, you can simply replace the album cover with a chosen pic while using the song title and app button printout. Or go further and place the printout under the glass and trace over the buttons and title with a white oil-based paint pen for that floating look.

DIY Rain Cloud

Bring the outside inside by creating a DIY rain cloud light. Using a paper lantern lamp, some cotton batting or synthetic snow, and your glue gun, create a fluffy cloud. Some DIYers go the extra mile by creating bead strings or adding fairy lights to look like rain.

Mossy Fairy Mirror

Get an inexpensive mirror, plus some moss, fake or dry flowers, air-dry clay and acrylic paint from the craft store. Spend a rainy day sculpting mushrooms out of the clay, then paint as you wish when dry. (Or skip this step and paint the mushrooms directly on the mirror.) Hot glue moss around the mirror, then add on flowers and mini mushrooms or other items that suit your personal Fairycore aesthetic.

Remember that creating a space that reflects your style doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag. With a little creativity, planning, and setting a budget, you can transform your room into your dream space. Now that you’ve got the knowledge and inspiration, it’s time to put your plans into action. 

With Mydoh, you can manage your money, save for your goals, and make smart financial decisions. Your room transformation is just the beginning of your journey toward financial independence and an exciting future.

Get Mydoh today.

How to Teach Your Kids and Teens About Holiday Budgeting 

The holidays are the one time of the year many of us struggle with sticking to our budget. With rising inflation and an unpredictable economy, Canadians actually plan to spend 11 per cent less than in 2022.

While it may feel satisfying to see a towering pile of presents under the Christmas tree, starting the new year in debt soon takes away that warm glow. Which is where a holiday budget comes in––not just for adults, but for kids and teens, too. 

Here are some holiday spending tips to help kids and teens stay within their budget and still enjoy the holiday season. 

Why is holiday budgeting important?

If you’re the type of holiday shopper who panic buys at the mall (many of us have been there!), then you probably already know the benefits of budgeting for the holidays. Creating a budget for the holidays is even more important because, without one, you could easily overspend or wipe out a month’s worth of budgeting and savings.

Going into battle (or a crowded mall in December) without a plan could be disastrous. Not only does creating a holiday budget help adults, but it’s a great money-management skill to model for our kids and teens. 

How much should you budget for the holidays?

The most wonderful time of the year isn’t always so wonderful for our bank balance. While Canadians say they’ll spend less this year, they still plan to spend an average of $1,347 over the holidays in 2023.

When budgeting for the holidays, financial experts suggest spending between one and 1.5 per cent of your annual salary. While that math might work for adults earning a yearly, salary, teens and kids should choose a dollar amount they feel they can comfortably afford. As the saying goes, “it’s the thought that counts.” So decide on a spending limit and stick with it. 

A young girl with her parents putting money in her piggy bank for Christmas

Do kids need a Christmas budget?

By the time kids have grown to be teens, they likely have a list of people they want to buy gifts for during the holidays. From matching necklaces for their BFF to the latest Steam game for their Secret Santa to yet another “World’s Best Dad” mug. 

But even candy grams and silly stocking stuffers for the family pet can add up, which is why the holidays are an ideal time for kids and teens to practice making and sticking to a budget. This way, they’re empowered to spend their own money how they choose on Christmas gifts for loved ones.

By setting a spending limit, kids and teens get real-world practice at budgeting and deciding where their money goes. Because planning ahead to buy for everyone on your list and still having money left over to see a movie or go skating is a great feeling! 

Read more: How to make a budget for kids and teens

How kids can earn extra gift money

Instead of having your kids hit you up for money to buy you your own Christmas present, talk to them ahead of time about how they can make extra money for their holiday spending. If your teen has a part-time job, they may be able to take on some extra shifts leading up to the holidays (especially if they work in retail). Kids and teens can also earn additional money by taking on extra chores or seasonal winter tasks

The holidays are a busy time for many families, so take advantage of a willing pair of hands to wrap gifts, babysit younger siblings, declutter the family room, or shovel the driveway.

Read more about giving your kids an allowance

How kids and teens can create a holiday budget

Creating a holiday budget doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it can even be a fun activity you can do as a family. Here are a few holiday budgeting tips you can share with your kids and teens:

Set a spending limit

Every budget needs a dollar amount allocated to it. Kids can check how much they have saved in cash or on their Mydoh account and how much of that they want to allocate for the holidays. 

Create a gift list

Who do they want to buy for and what? Writing out a list with a dollar amount is one thing, but your kids can also get creative by creating a Pinterst board and pinning items or creating a pictorial list online using Canva. 

Assign a dollar amount

Determine how much you can afford to spend on each gift or person. Not sure what a gift will cost? Encourage your kids to do some research and compare prices online first. 

Total your amounts

Simply add the amount for each gift and ensure it doesn’t equal an amount more than your spending limit. If your kid is planning to spend more than they budgeted, see our next point.

Adjust accordingly

If your teen has brand name tastes but a no-name budget, they might need to adjust their budget (and their expectations). Is there one area of their budget they can cut down on or could they earn some extra money to boost their holiday spending? 

Looking for more holiday budgeting tips for your family? Read our guide to budgeting for kids

7 tips to budget for the holidays as a family

1.  Take all your holiday expenses into account

As well as gifts, remember to budget for any other expenses you may have this holiday season. This could include travel plans, get-togethers or family dinners, food, decorations (including the cost of a tree), gift wrapping, stocking stuffers, or teachers’ presents. To help manage expenses, consider hosting a potluck or deciding on a Secret Santa gift swap rather than buying presents for everyone in your extended family. 

2.  Set your kids’ expectations

While many of us want the holidays to be a magical time for our kids, nothing can blow out the holiday budget more than buying everything on their Christmas wish list. Instead, set expectations early on. Ask your kids to identify a few gifts they really want and let them know how many gifts they might expect. Another approach some parents take is to buy their kids something they want, something they need, something they wear, and something they read. This can apply as well to teens as it does to younger kids. 

3.  Shop for the best deal

Make your budget stretch further by shopping for the best deal. Maybe your kids’ “must have” gift probably won’t go on sale until after the holidays, but you can still price compare. Flipp and Rebee are two apps that will compare prices on recent flyers, so you can shop for the best deal. If you’re shopping online, don’t forget to factor shipping costs into your budget. 

4.  Give the gift of time together

Gifts aren’t the only way families can celebrate the holidays. Whether you’re budget conscious this year or not, focus on presence, rather than presents. One of the joys of the festive period is kids spending time as a family. Why not have each person write a certificate for a “gift” they’d like to experience over the holidays. Perhaps it’s a holiday movie marathon with plenty of popcorn, decorating a gingerbread house (or creating teams and turning it into a friendly competition), playing board games, or a walk in the snow followed by hot chocolate. Not only can doing this help create wonderful memories, but it also teaches kids that there’s more to the holidays than simply accumulating a pile of gifts. 

Read more: Fun and cheap winter activities for families

5. DIY the holidays

Those pretty baubles and festive wreaths can tap your budget. One way to cut down on expenses is to get crafty and DIY everything from a centrepiece for the dinner table to handmade shortbread for teachers’ gifts to homemade bath bombs. Encourage them to hand make gifts for people on their shopping list and bank some of their money. There’s plenty of #DIYgiftideas inspo available on TikTok.

6.  Volunteer

The spirit of the holiday season isn’t about what you get, but about what you give. Teaching kids and teens about managing their money can include being grateful for what you already have. One way to appreciate what you’ve got is to give back to their community. Encourage (or even challenge your kids—and yourself) to find even one small way to volunteer this holiday. It could be donating one gift from their list to a local toy drive, volunteering to distribute gifts or food for a local charity, or as simple as shovelling the driveway of a neighbour. 

7.  Start saving money early

If you find the holidays often put a strain on your finances, make a resolution to set aside monthly savings for the next year. Make it a teachable moment for your kids and teens and discuss a plan to spread the cost out the following year. Parents can also encourage their kids to save money and think about putting aside a set amount each month. Mydoh makes that easy with our Savings Goals feature in the Mydoh app.

Read more about teaching good money habits

How Mydoh can make budgeting easier for your kids

Holiday shopping and buying gifts for family and friends can be fun! And while you don’t want to rob your kids of that joy, it’s also important for parents to help guide kids in making sound decisions about their money. The Mydoh app and Smart Cash Card allow kids and teens to shop safely and securely this holiday season and, as it’s prepaid, they won’t have to worry about going into the red in the New Year. 

Mydoh helps kids and teens “sleigh” their holiday spending! Learn more about about Mydoh.