Volunteering is a great way for teens to explore higher education and career options while forming their identities as individuals. Through volunteer work, teens can build confidence, independence, leadership, and social skills that will catapult their lives into adulthood. In addition to building soft skills, teens can gain valuable hard skills related to computer systems, basic financial transactions, care taking, etc. that will show future employers and college admissions teams that they are responsible, reliable, and self-directed.
In general, volunteer jobs involve more scheduling flexibility than paid youth jobs and could be ideal for youth who are interested in holding a job but who cannot due to sports, extracurricular, and other academic commitments.
How to Find the Right Cause
Teens are often so curious about many different things in life. Volunteering on day projects for organizations is a great way to narrow down your interests to make a fuller weekly commitment to a cause you care about. Many communities have a local United Way who can serve as a liaison to match a teen volunteer with a cause of which they find to be interesting. There is no shortage of fantastic nonprofit organizations who rely on volunteer labor to fulfill their mission.
Different Ways to Help
Nonprofit organizations are always looking for bright, dependable, hard working young people who are committed to making a difference in the world. Once you narrow down the cause you are most passion about, write an email to the nonprofit’s volunteer coordinator or administration and make your case. You may start off working on menial or repetitive volunteer tasks but if you prove yourself to be committed and reliable, a volunteer position could turn into something even more valuable and rewarding. If you’re a budding writer, instead of stuffing hundreds of envelopes with a newsletter insert, they may eventually rely on you to write a feature or two in the newsletter. If you’re a basketball star and want to be a coach one day, you may go from cleaning the gym after youth practices to coaching one of the teams.
Blackbird Philanthropy Advisors is a social enterprise devoted to Driving impactful and innovative change through philanthropy. Based in South Bend, Indiana, USA.