Now that the restrictions of living in pandemic times have lifted, teens have the opportunity to regain their emotional resilience. One way to do this is to encourage your teen to volunteer in their community or at school. They can reap all the health benefits of doing good deeds for others while they gain experience for college or employment.
Volunteerism Health Benefits for Teens
-Volunteerism helps teens to:
-Reduce stress, anxiety, and depression
-Strengthen social connections
-Be physically and intellectually active
-Reduce time in front of digital devices
-Develop a sense of purpose by seeing the impact their actions can have
How to Encourage Teens To Volunteer
If the adults in your teen’s life volunteer their time, that role modeling goes a long way in opening the discussion about getting them to also volunteer. You can start by inviting the teen to join the next volunteer event.
Volunteering as a family is a great way to get teens involved. Before you start the conversation, research organizations in the community that are in need and ask your teen what causes they feel interested in or passionate about.
Talk about the difference that can be made by volunteering as a family.
Ask your teen to help choose a charitable cause or event to support. (Give them ownership).
Set a date for everyone to give it a try.
Be sure you emphasize the importance of what you will be doing for the organization or the people you will serve. Teens respond to “knowing why.” They won’t volunteer just because you say it’s good for their health; they will volunteer when they see how their actions will make a difference and to whom. As a bonus, remind them how volunteering adds an impressive element to their college and job applications.
If volunteering as a group/family isn’t feasible, talk to your teen about opportunities at school or through organizations that specialize in placing teen volunteers. A few to consider:
-YM/YWCA Teen Volunteer Programs
-Organizations at their school
-Local chapters of womens’ or mens’ clubs
-Local event-based organizations (such as those that run arts events and 5ks)
-Volunteer Match or Lion’s Heart are nationally based teen service organizations that have local chapters/resources.
Volunteering can have a significant effect in a teen’s life. Not only can volunteering benefit their physical and emotional health now, it can also shape their future.
NationalService.gov. “The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research.” Corporation of National & Community Service. https://www.nationalservice.gov/pdf/07_0506_hbr.pdf
Thebalancesmb.com. “15 Unexpected Benefits of Volunteering that will Inspire You.” https://www.thebalancesmb.com/unexpected-benefits-of-volunteering-4132453
FacesAndVoicesofRecover.org. “How to Encourage Teens to Volunteer.” https://facesandvoicesofrecovery.org/blog/2018/11/12/how-to-encourage-teenagers-to-volunteer/