Why should teens and kids get involved in their community and become volunteers?
Besides the fact there are many good causes, there are many excellent reasons.
Volunteering as a family, whether on a local or even an international level, has many benefits for both you and your children. There is an astonishing array of programs out there designed specifically to help kids get involved along with their parents, fostering positive self-growth and other valuable attributes that your children will carry with them throughout their adult lives.
Here are ten of the reasons why you might want to consider volunteering programs with your children, and the positive impact that such activities will have on their development.
- Instilling a Sense of Compassion – Teaching the concept of compassion can be quite challenging, especially when children are young and have a limited perspective of the world. By volunteering to help people and animals in need, your kids can learn what compassion is and also how to show their own compassion in ways that help those around them.
- Learning to Appreciate Their Good Fortune – Some children may not realize how privileged and fortunate they are to have a safe home, warm clothing and plenty of food to eat. By working with people that aren’t so lucky, your kids can gain a new appreciation for the things that they have, and an understanding of how valuable those things really are.
- Acquiring New Skills – Working in a volunteer capacity will help your children gain new skills by putting them in a position that will require them to gain and utilize the things they’ve learned. Whether it’s proper care of animals or helping to build a Habitat for Humanity home, every volunteer act will help your youngsters learn new skills and valuable lessons.
- Learning About Responsibility – When the care of an animal, the happiness of an elderly person or the full belly of a homeless person is something your child is tasked with, they’ll have a better understanding of what true responsibility is and learn how to apply it in their daily lives.
- Exploring New Interests – Young children may not always realize where they’re interests lie, due simply to the fact that they haven’t been exposed to them yet. Budding veterinarians may feel that spark as a result of volunteering at the local animal shelter, while future geriatric specialists learn of their affinity for helping the elderly after working with them at a senior center.
- Building New Relationships – Working with other children and their families through a volunteer program will expand your child’s social circle beyond their peers at school and play date buddies. Learning the art of making new friends and forging new bonds is only one of the benefits of youth volunteer work.
- Boosting Self-Esteem – Being able to look at a positive difference in the community and take ownership for part of it is a great self-esteem booster, especially for children that struggle in that area. Knowing that they’ve helped someone in need and made that person or animal’s life better through their own efforts is a powerful confidence booster.
- Fostering a Sense of Civic Responsibility – Helping to improve their community through hard work and dedication not only instills a sense of compassion and responsibility in kids, but also helps them understand the concept of civic responsibility.
- Encouraging Physical Activity – So many favorite activities of today’s kids require nothing more than an electronic device and a comfortable place to sit. Getting your kids involved in community volunteer programs has physical benefits in addition to the many psychological and emotional ones, as it gets them off the couch and involved in physically active work.
- Making a Difference in the Community – While most parents do want to get their children involved in community volunteer programs in order to help them reap the benefits of socially-conscious work, the positive impact on the community itself can’t be ignored. When you and your children volunteer together, you’re strengthening the community as well as your own personal bond.
While there are community-based programs that will allow children to volunteer as part of an organization with direct supervision from program directors and leaders, it’s best to look for programs that will allow your family to get involved as a unit, rather than simply dropping the kids off and pursuing your own interests during the rare and valuable downtime.
Remember that children learn many of their habits and ideas from observing the adults that they love and admire; one of the best ways to reinforce the things that they’re learning and encourage further development of their new skills is to model desirable behavior alongside them.
Source: Part-time Nanny
Make 2013 the year you and your family be the difference in your community.