Whether you’re in college or heading there soon, summer is a great time to be productive and earn some extra cash. Even better, you could use this time to truly make a difference in the lives of others. If you look beyond typical “college summer jobs” like retail or working in the local diner, you just may find work that changes your life and gives back to the community. It could also add depth to your résumé as employers look for well-rounded candidates who are both qualified and service minded.

Keep in mind that positions in which you can give back may not pay as well as traditional summer jobs. In fact, not all amazing summer opportunities offer compensation — some nonprofits might give a small stipend, and others might be purely volunteer work. However, the experience you can gain and the difference you can make is often more valuable than the paycheck.

Taking a job or volunteer position can be gratifying and help you develop qualities like empathy, gratitude and humility that will benefit you throughout your life. Here are some ideas to help you put the summer months to good use by getting active in the community, making a difference and gaining valuable experience.

If you’re not sure what you want to do. Explore Idealist.org. This portal is for nonprofit jobs and volunteer opportunities is a great starting point to help you discover where your help is needed. You’ll find everything from working with low-income students to being a social media support specialist for a nonprofit organization.

If you care about the environment. Check out Fund for the Public Interest, a group that tackles environmental issues. You might find a gig in which you go door-to-door to educate the public about various issues from climate change to clean water to energy consumption. Another option is to contact your local parks department to see if they are looking for people to help clean up parks and beaches.

If you want to do some national service. Sign up for Americorps, a government organization that supports community service efforts. There are summer assignments available across the United States, like working at camps, museums and public libraries.

If you care about political issues. Consider volunteering or looking for part-time work with a local politician’s office. You may find opportunities to support candidates running for re-election, collect signatures door-to-door, post signs or work the phones. If you have political aspirations of your own, it can be a great way to get a first-hand look at what goes on behind the scenes.

If you want to serve your local community. Contact your local government office or church groups in your area to see if there are programs you can assist with. They may be able to connect you with seniors who need assistance or know about a shelter or food bank that could use some extra hands.

If you have healthcare aspirations. Taking a job or volunteer position with a nursing home or rehabilitation center can be a great opportunity to brighten someone’s day, while also giving you the chance to observe health care professionals in action.

If you want to teach or work with kids. Seek out work in a summer camp or day care center, or talk to your school to see if they work with any summer programs in the area that are in need of tutors or mentors. Even becoming the neighborhood’s go-to babysitter can earn you plenty of hands-on experience as well.

If you love animals. Inquire at your local zoo, aquarium, veterinary clinic or animal shelter to see if there are any summer openings. You’ll get to spend time with furry and feathered friends, and learn more about what goes into caring for them and their habitats.

By expanding your job search into causes that you’re passionate about, not only can you possibly save up a few bucks before the fall semester begins, but you’ll feel good about the time and effort you put in. Another option is to work a traditional job if you have expenses to cover, but leave some hours in your week to do volunteer work that is meaningful to you. Whichever route you take, you’ll have the opportunity to earn valuable experience working outside your comfort zone.