Helping others and giving back to the community are ideal ways for teens to learn the importance of being generous. An effective way to encourage such positive behavior is to get your teen to volunteer.
Not only is volunteering a great way to lend a helping hand to those in need, but it can be an incredibly enriching and rewarding experience. Not to mention how good it looks on college/job applications! Below, five benefits your teen can reap by volunteering.
It combines personal interests with responsibilities
If you’re like most parents, you envision your child growing up to become a responsible adult. You want them to stick to the rules, bring good decisions, and follow through on them. One of the best ways to ensure that is to start encouraging responsibility in children from an early age. This is where volunteering comes into play.
Volunteering, in its essence, combines an individual’s personal interests with responsibility. What this means is that a person gets to do something they enjoy and help others at the same time while also learning how to be more responsible. If your teen is interested in volunteering, talk to them about the things that spark their interest. It can be anything, from playing a musical instrument to practicing a certain sport. Then, use their interests to identify volunteering opportunities in your local area that they may want to take part in.
It teaches real-world skills
Other than growing up to become responsible adults, most parents also want their teens to acquire some useful skills. This also happens to be one of the biggest benefits of community service for youth as the entire experience results in the acquisition of real-world skills that can be applied later on, whether we’re talking about college, future career, or other aspects of your teen’s life.
This is true regardless of the organization, cause, or charity your teen decides to volunteer for. Whether they’re working with peers, the elderly, the children, the homeless, or the animals, by dedicating their time to help others, your teen will be acquiring some practical life skills including proper time management, meeting deadlines, and working with colleagues.
It boosts social and networking skills
Speaking of working with colleagues and helping others, another major benefit of teen volunteering has to do with an individual’s social and networking skills. Depending on where they choose to volunteer, they can meet new people from a wide range of ages. They can make life-long friendships, and even build a good contact network while volunteering for a generous cause.
This, in turn, will not only help boost their social skills tremendously but can also help them academically and professionally. Which brings us to the next big benefit of teen volunteering…
It opens windows to the future
It’s no secret that the choices teens make in their youth can heavily impact their future, both generally and career-wise. Volunteering can open windows to the future and expand your teen’s perspective. This can help tremendously when it comes to figuring out the kind of career they should strive towards.
Not to mention how volunteer experience looks great on a resume or a college application. People who volunteer make for more attractive candidates, and both employers and colleges look for well-rounded, productive, and motivated individuals. Bonus points if you volunteer for a cause that supplements your application (e.g. future nurses volunteering in a hospital ).
It encourages altruism among youth
We live in a time when being selfish and having self-centered preferences is pretty much the norm. Although being selfish can be OK at times, it’s important to teach teens the importance of altruism and philanthropy. Volunteering does a great job at this as well.
It does so by giving teens insight into the lives of people who aren’t as fortunate as they are. It shows them that not everyone lives like they do and that for some people, every day’s a new struggle. By volunteering for a cause they care about, the youth learns what it means to be compassionate and caring. It also increases the likelihood of them volunteering and donating later on in life.
Choosing to volunteer at a local community is beneficial to teens for more reasons than one. It’s a way to give back to the community while simultaneously reaping a plethora of personal rewards and benefits. Start encouraging your teen to volunteer today, and you’ll help set them up for a lifetime of compassion and generosity.