Every year communities around the country celebrate National Volunteer Week. This year it falls on April 18-22nd! 

You may be thinking… why should we be teaching about volunteering and community service in middle school?

The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning at Tufts University found that students who volunteer are more successful in school and more likely to graduate from high school and college than those who don’t volunteer. This may be because most service opportunities teach students essential life skills like planning, working in groups, interacting with diverse groups, and solving complex problems. It also gives students a purpose, and an outlet to find their passions and strengths. 

This week, we’re providing resources for teachers to be able to shine a light on the people and the causes that inspire us to serve. The world needs volunteers who donate their time, energy, and passion to the causes they care about and this starts with our students!

Ignite an interest in volunteerism for your students to make an impact on their own neighborhoods with our week-at-a-glance planner!

Snag it here to download!

National Volunteer Week


Introduce the concept of Volunteerism through immersive game-play. 

Introduce students to community service organizations, volunteer work, career exploration, and social-emotional learning experiences through immersive gameplay with the Community in Crisis learning game.Start building their knowledge with this lesson plan.

Students take on the role of the “boss” at a community center as they read closely, think critically, lead a diverse team, and solve complex problems — all within the immersive context of a day at work.

Play Community in Crisis, learning game, Stranded! Answer key.


Inspire students to make a difference.

Have your students ask themselves: How can I make a difference in my community? Use our enrichment project to help them identify a cause they are passionate about and develop their own community service plan.

Use these lesson sessions to get your students excited about volunteering and community service.


Give students a front-row seat into community activism through career exploration.

Grab the popcorn and watch an on-demand Read to Lead: Live! session with Mary Walker, where students will get an inside look into the leadership journey of this passionate professional who discusses her role in corporate philanthropy to help nonprofits achieve their mission. 

If you thought the on-demand session was powerful, you have to catch a LIVE session! Sign up for the next one here!


Spark deep class discussion.

Read to Lead: Live! always seems to spark deep questions and reflections for students about their passions, desires, challenges, and future.

Use this discussion guide to spark deep discussion and reflection with your students!


Connect to the real world.

Allow students to share their community service plans with their peers and start mobilizing their volunteer plans with an organization they feel a connection with.

Start with this comprehensive list of Volunteer Opportunities across the country.

And there you have it! Five full days of igniting an interest in community service for your middle school students. Whether you do all five days, or just one –  tell us how it goes with #NationalVolunteerWeek on Twitter and Instagram. Tag us to be featured –  @ReadtoLeadGames

Happy teaching!


About Read to Lead

Read to Lead uses the power of game-based learning to empower middle school students to build literacy, life, and career skills. Teachers can sign up for a free account to get started!