Featured Image

The Best Opportunities for Students to Volunteer in October

Everyone loves seeing what national month it is, and October brings awareness to a lot of important things, from bullying prevention to breast cancer. Here are some ways to connect with those causes at your school.

Everyone loves seeing what national month it is, and October brings awareness to a lot of important things, from bullying prevention to breast cancer. It’s a great time to get involved by volunteering and fundraising at your school. Besides all the great causes you can support, the newness of the year has started to wear off and everything’s getting to be a bit routine—now’s the time to shake things up. There are plenty of ways to get involved, raise awareness, or gather donations at your school and in your community. Here are some easy ways to get your activist on in October.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Probably one of the most well-known national months for October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF), one in eight women will develop breast cancer in her life, and over 300,000 new cases are diagnosed every year. There are plenty of ways to raise money for cancer research, from bake sales to flower sales. Way back in elementary school, we did “Denim Day”—it was a private school so we had to wear a uniform, but we were allowed to wear jeans on one specific day if we brought in a $1 donation. If you go to public school and wearing jeans isn’t such a treat, you can sell pink ribbons or arrange a Pink Day, encouraging students to wear pink to raise awareness and setting up donation tins/boxes in homerooms or the school office.

Related: How Community Service Can Help Your College Application Stand Out

Mental Illness Awareness and Depression Education and Awareness Month

According to TeenMentalHealth.org, one in five youths suffer from a mental illness. According to Boston Children’s Hospital, suicide is the second-leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10–24. Mental illness and depression affect a lot of young people, and bringing attention to the struggles of people living with mental illness is important. Raising awareness and showing support for this cause is super easy and can make a huge difference. DoSomething.org has a support board you can contribute to and share your words of encouragement for peers who are living with mental illness. Another easy campaign is to ask your teacher if you can put a support board in your classroom, or ask school administration if you can do something as simple as putting up fliers with the National Suicide Prevention hotline around your school to remind struggling students that they’re not alone.

Diversity Awareness Month

Diversity comes in many shapes and sizes: race, gender, sexuality, cultural background, and so much more. And there are many ways to bring attention to the diversity in your school and ways that you, as a community, can embrace that diversity and be supportive. For example, you could have a school forum where students can discuss any issues they feel exist in the school that may not be addressed. Allow students to point out any microaggressions they face and have an open discussion about how to address and prevent these microaggressions to make your school as welcoming a place as possible.

Another great way to participate is with literature. October is also National Book Fair Month, so try to encourage students to read and buy books with diverse main characters. You can create your own book fair using donations from students and donate the proceeds to a local charity that supports marginalized voices. If a book sale is too much to do this month, you can work with your school library to put together a book display near the entrance spotlighting books with diverse main characters.

Related: 4 Ways You Bring Culture and Diversity to Your College

Hunger Awareness Month

Over 40 million people in the United States live with food insecurity. Access to food is difficult for so many people, and it likely affects your own community. But you can help out! A canned food drive for a week or even the entire month of October can do a lot for your local food bank. Talk to your school administration about how to set up one of these food drives. You and your friends or a club you’re part of can also go to a local food bank and volunteer. If you’d like to raise money to support your local food bank, October is also National Pizza Month. It may seem counterintuitive to sell food to raise money for food insecurity, but you can sell slices of pizza after school (when everyone needs a nice snack) for a small amount and donate the proceeds to your local food bank. For more info on ways you can help, check out the Feeding America website.

Bullying Prevention Month

Bullying is an issue we normally associate with elementary and middle school, but it’s an issue that students can deal with in high school and college as well. The most important way you can bring attention to bullying prevention is to stop it when you see it happening in your school. If you see someone being bullied or harassed, step in, speak up, and make the bully know that their behavior is not acceptable or tolerated. If you feel uncomfortable doing this in the moment, notify a teacher or administrator. You can also raise awareness by distributing materials around school to bring awareness to bullying. StopBullying.gov has some great resources and information you can easily print off and share. You can also talk to administrators at a local elementary school to see if you can talk to younger students about how to stop and prevent bullying.

Related: How Should Students Respond to Bullying?

Education and support

There are so many other ways to acknowledge all the different national month celebrations in October (and plenty of other months). Talk to you teachers about how they can incorporate different themes into their lessons, like your health class going over alcohol safety since it’s Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Month or doing an extra credit project for your history class on a Hispanic historical figure for Hispanic Heritage Month.

Check out our Scholarship Search tool for scholarships that will award you for supporting these and other causes you care about!

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

bullying diversity fundraising mental illness October volunteering

About Kara E. Joyce

Kara E. Joyce is an editor and writer who frequently contributes to CollegeXpress. When she isn’t hunched over editing material, you can find her powerlifting in the gym, pirouetting in a dance studio, or planning her next adventure.


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Jeff Parsons

Jeff Parsons


Thank you so much for this valuable information about these opportunities. I truly appreciate the CollegeXpress communications and use them to keep my high school seniors informed about their opportunities!

Priscilla Yeboah

Priscilla Yeboah

High School Student

I was afraid and timid throughout my search for colleges, but I finally found the college that was fit for me and luckily I got accepted. One of the most influential things that helped me was the articles and advice on CollegeXpress. They've helped me a lot and benefited me as a senior to make the right choices in life. Thank you!

Rayan Hamdan

Rayan Hamdan

High School Student

I joined CollegeXpress just a few months ago. I had been struggling with severe anxiety, causing me to not be able to tour schools and make sure a college would be perfect for me. I came across CollegeXpress one day when I was searching for colleges online, and it completely changed the game. I was easily able to choose colleges that would suit me, and I also entered a few giveaways! Thank you so much!

Maya Ingraham

Maya Ingraham

October 2021 Mini Scholarship Winner, Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has given me more confidence in my college process. With easy-to-access resources and guidance such as the CX Weekly Roundup, I have been able to find the best colleges for me. Most importantly, there’s a surplus of scholarship opportunities for every student to support their education.

Maria  Fernanda

Maria Fernanda

High School Class of 2023

CollegeXpress is always telling you with time to spare when to apply for certain scholarships, what they require, and if you’re eligible or not. They also provide helpful tips for both incoming college students and current college students, such as what to absolutely have in your dorm.

College Matches