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Community-Based Opportunities to Work and Learn

Occasionally, Hand In Hand receives notices about community based organizations who sponsor special educational opportunities. In some cases, these groups are specificaly reaching out to the homeschool community. These invitations come from museums, colleges, non-profits, and other community groups.

These listings are different from community events or classes because they generally require an application for a few select spots. These listings sometimes offer a modest stipend to the homeschooler - though they are often volunteer positions that give you a unique set of experiences.

While we do our best to verify the information we receive, these specific opportunities should never require a homeschool family to pay to participate. Please take the time to research any opportunity you are interested in and contact the person listed for the group.


Explainer's Program NEW
National Air and Space Museum

Contact: Amy Wood

Explainers assist visitors with the exhibit units in the How Things Fly gallery. They present demonstrations on aviation and space topics for audiences of 50 visitors or more. Explainers work with the Discovery Station program presenting a variety of topics. They also assist with NASM Family Days and other special events during the year.

Homeschool Explainers are expected to be available to work at least 16 hours per month, with some of that time during the weekdays. The Smithsonian has a firm policy that Explainers MUST be at least 16 years old. Applicants must also be able to provide documentation that they are a U.S. citizen or a non-citizen with proper INS authorization.

Ideally, candidate should consider the Explainer’s Program a long-term commitment that will that will take them through high school and even during college breaks. NASM provides training for all aspects of the job. Students who participate as an Explainer on a regular and committed basis can request recommendation letters from the program director. Once Explainers volunteer at least 100 hours, they are eligible to apply for a part-time job at the museum. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.


Book Ideas Panel NEW
National Geographic Society

This opportunity is for parents only. Complete an online profile survey. If you qualify as a panel member, you'll have an important say in the development of future books, input into book covers, and a sneak peek at new concepts NGS is considering. Each time you complete a survey, your name will be entered into a quarterly drawing for a chance to win prizes.


Teen Advisory Council NEW
Free Spirit Publishing

Eric Braun

Free Spirit Publishing, the leading publisher of books that support young people’s social and emotional health, seeks young people, grades 6 and up, to join its teen advisory council. In order to keep our books and other products current and relevant, the advisory council provides valuable feedback on things like design, art, and content.

Teens who are selected to join the council are expected to make a 12-month commitment, respond to e-mails in a timely manner, and respect confidentiality.


Junior Zoo Crew NEW
Maryland Zoo

Contact: Volunteer Department

The Junior Zoo Crew is a volunteer program for students ages 14-17 with an interest in animal science, horticulture, education, conservation, Zoo operations, and most importantly, volunteering. Throughout the program, we teach teens about The Zoo's mission, its animal inhabitants, careers available at the Zoo, and its significant role in conservation while engaging them in important group service projects.

Upon completion of the first summer, participants may be accepted into the Junior Volunteer program, where they serve as Keeper Aid volunteers or Education Aid volunteers. Places in Junior Zoo Crew are limited, and admission is competitive. Application are due in mid-May.


Paid Research Studies through UMD College Park
Comprehensive Assessment and Intervention Program

Contact: Department of Psychology

The Comprehensive Assessment and Intervention Program within College Park's Psychology Department recruits teenagers and families in the community to participate in studies that seek to develop new standardized measurement tools. If you're interested in being paid for your time, you must first fill out an online form and someone will conduct a telephone screening with you to confirm eligibility.

Studies change over time. Currently, CAIP is recruiting 14-17 year olds to participate in one of two studies - shyness and how teens think and act with their parents.


Teen Art Council
The Walters Art Museum

Contact: Lindsey Anderson

The Walters Art Museum Teen Arts Council is a group of 15-17 motivated Baltimore-area youth who serve as the "teen voice" at the museum, developing and promoting creative programming aimed at bringing teens and art together.

The group meets once every other week for the entire school year. They spend time learning about the museum, meeting staff and learning about museum operations, investigating the museum collection, and putting together teen events. Past events included special teen tours, art contests, performances, spoken word events, fashion shows, and more.


Staff Writer
Young Idealist

Contact: YI Editor

The Young Idealist, a new youth-written, youth-run policy journal, is seeking young people interested in the position of staff writer. We look for youth with intellectual motivation, incomparable writing skills, and a fierce commitment to the goal of discourse in the latest generation to come forward and apply.

Staff writers are expected to contribute two to three thorough, research-based papers per year. Topics will be chosen in conference with the editorial board: the hope being that by centralizing and internalizing the sources of our content we can focus our attention on the most pressing issues.


Student Summer Program
National Aquarium in Baltimore

Contact: 410-576-3886

High school students are not eligible to intern at the Aquarium, but they can apply to participate in the Student Summer Program. Participants increase their knowledge of marine environments and interact with visitors to help them understand the exhibits.

Applicants must have successfully completed ninth grade and at least one high school biology course in order to be eligible to apply. The must demonstrate environmental awareness and be interested in marine biology. Smiling and enjoying talking to people is a must. Applications are due before Christmas.




Hand In Hand Home School shares this list of community-based educational opportunities as an informational outreach service to the homeschool community. Parents assume full responsibility for thoroughly investigating each organization and the requirements for each learning and/or volunteer experience. Hand In Hand cannot be held liable for any injuries or loss due to a family's pursuance of one of these opportunities.