Before teens are old enough to earn full-time income, many begin building job skills that will help them thrive in adulthood. A lot of these important skills start with volunteer community service, which may range from caregiving to outdoor clean up. Check out this list of 24 volunteer ideas for teens.
In addition to the warm and fuzzy feelings generated by donating time, there are many practical, long-term benefits of participating in community service as a teen. Youth Serve America, which hosts Global Youth Service Day in April, offers the top four ways volunteerism helps teens achieve success:
Volunteering improves workforce readiness
Volunteering is a great opportunity for youth and teens to practice non-academic skill building such as collaboration and problem solving, which are crucial for success in the workforce. Volunteering also helps youth form their identity—an essential part of building confidence during adolescence that can later be applied to job interviews.
Youth who volunteer are 50% less likely to engage in risky behaviorsAccording to Opportunity Nation, teens who give their time to the community have less of it to spend on risky behaviors, which could hinder their eligibility to enter the workforce later on.
Young people who volunteer are more likely to give back as adultsToday’s teens are the next generation of board members and philanthropists. When they have positive experiences giving back, they become invested in their communities. According to the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, two-thirds of volunteers will donate money to the same organizations where they volunteer.
High quality service-learning leads to academic success
Students are more likely to be engaged in school when they can apply what they are learning to their out-of-school lives. A study published by Civic Enterprises, LLC, as part of the National Conference on Citizenship, reported that 82% of students who participated in service-learning had increased positive feelings towards attending high school.
Set up the teens in your life for success by letting them know about volunteer opportunities at their local Y, house of worship, school district or community organization. Or, if you run a community program, create volunteer positions specific for youth and teens.