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Family Volunteering: Teaching Kids to Care (page 2)

Family Volunteering: Teaching Kids to Care

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Updated on Apr 2, 2014

Teen Volunteerism:

High School

Teens eager to volunteer can join the Key Club, a high school organization sponsored by Kiwanis International. Through Key Club, teens perform acts of service in their communities, such as cleaning up parks, collecting clothing, and organizing food drives. Teens can also develop their leadership skills by organizing meetings, planning projects, and holding leadership positions. Members must be willing to fulfill at least 50 hours of service to their home, school, and community each year. Check out the Key Club’s website to find out if your high school has a club you can join or get information on how you can start your own.

Many high schools provide additional outlets for teens to give back to the local community; at some schools, completing a certain number of community service hours is a requirement for graduation. Sir Francis Drake High School in Marin, CA hosts the Habitat for Humanity Club, a student-run club that fundraises for Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco. The Habitat Club is a great example of proactive, self-sufficient teens working together for a great cause. Volunteering is satisfying for teens because they are able to see the fruits of their labor and seeing what they are capable of boosts their self-esteem,” says Erin Beeson, Volunteer Services Coordinator at Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco. Teens who are passionate about specific causes can partner with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity to find ways to help.

Every teen has a skill or a talent that can be developed into a way to give back to others. Teens who excel in academics can volunteer as a tutor or classroom aide at elementary and middle schools to help students with their homework. Teens who enjoy reading can volunteer at the local library. If you have an athletic teen, encourage her to seek out opportunities to volunteer at children’s sports or summer camps. Depending on the organization, teens 16 and older can usually begin volunteering on their own, without parental guidance or permission.

College-Age Volunteerism:

Short-Term

There are many websites where college-aged individuals can simply log in and search for local volunteer opportunities by location, organization, and job type. It is important to choose a volunteer position that interests them, whether they are passionate about the cause, or feel that it will be beneficial to them personally or professionally. Some organizations even hire regular volunteers for employment positions. If your college-aged child is considering a career in the non-profit or public sector or within a specific field, volunteering will give them the hands-on experience now that employers will want to see on their resume in the future.

Long-Term

The AmeriCorps program is a nationwide program offering modestly paid service opportunities for an 11-month period at participating non-profit organizations throughout the U.S. Participants must be at least 17 years old. The Peace Corps program provides an opportunity for participants to serve in another country for 27 months, addressing a global concern such as promoting HIV/Aids awareness and safety in Africa. Participants must be at least 18 years old. Both programs offer many incentives, such as free travel, free housing or housing assistance, earned vacation time, an educational stipend, and more. So much comes out of long-term volunteer service because it resonates deeper than just volunteering for a few days. It allows the person to develop a greater perspective and understanding of the community he/she is serving,” says Georgina Hernandez, AmeriCorps Coordinator at Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco and a former member of the Peace Corps.

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