5 Ways Volunteering Enhances Life for Teens

Summer is the perfect time for teens to put their out-of-school hours to work, and no matter the organization or time commitment, volunteering is a great way for teens to grow and learn. So whether it’s a one-time stint or an ongoing gig, if your teen is staring down a long summer of boredom, encourage him or her to volunteer.

Volunteering develops empathy.As a volunteer, your teen will be asked to work with people – or animals – who need his help and rely on his ability to think about things from someone else’s point of view. Empathy is a cornerstone of emotional intelligence, which is important to a range of jobs your teen might hold in the future.

Volunteering improves self-esteem.Your teen might discover a satisfaction in volunteer work that she’s never seen in the classroom. That’s because volunteering can challenge teens in ways that school doesn’t, such as communicating with people of different ages and backgrounds, performing physical labor or learning new skills. Volunteering also gives your teen a chance to see the direct results of her good work, reinforcing the notion that she’s an important part of her community.

Volunteering allows teens to explore future studies.Working in a field that matters to your teen can help him decide about future studies and career goals – or weed through the options. Whether he’s interested in science, sports or sociology, there’s certainly an organization that can use his time and talents to good purpose.

Volunteering helps to build a resume.Volunteer work can help your teen stand out on applications for a scholarship, school or job. Even when the work is unpaid, holding down a volunteer position demonstrates that your teen can honor her commitments, undergo successful training and show responsibility.

Volunteering leads to a job.Gaining work experience – whether paid or not – is vital in today’s job market, and volunteering can set your teen on the path to a part-time job during the school year or a summer job next year. Perhaps the organization will have paid opportunities at a later date, and your teen’s experience will give him the leg up over other applicants. Or maybe your teen will expand his professional network by meeting other volunteers and staff who work for the organization. Opportunities come in many forms.

All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and/or contributors and not of their employer. Any questions or concerns regarding the content found here may be sent to info@austinymca.org

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