As a dedicated Kinsmen (or Kinette), you know the importance of volunteering and the endless benefits it brings those in need. You’re an adult with many things on your plate, but one who gives your spare time to those in need.
This type of dedication does not come lightly.
Volunteering is something you are passionate about and something you no doubt want your kids to grow passionate about too.
It can be difficult to empower your children to volunteer in their local community, especially if they’re teenagers. There are always things that seem more enticing or demanding to your teen when it comes to their time: school, friends, extracurriculars … the list goes on.
As we’ve discussed in previous blog posts, volunteering can have many benefits; it’s important to instil these benefits in your kids if you want them to carry on the goodwill.
“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” - Muhammad Ali
Here are a few ways to get your teenagers interested in volunteer work:
Talk To Them About Their Personal Passions
Any volunteer knows they are most passionate about giving their time to an activity or cause in which they are genuinely interested or care about. For example, donating your time to a cancer foundation is natural when you have been personally affected by cancer and truly want to contribute toward cancer research fundraising or volunteer at patient care facilities. Alternatively, contributing to a bake sale might be easy when you are an avid baker.
Here are just a few examples when it comes to your teen:
1. Is your teen adamant about writing?
2. Do they want to end world hunger?
3. Maybe they have a passion for the arts and want to share that with others?
These passions can easily translate to volunteer work.
If they love writing, suggest finding a local business that needs someone to write newsletters or emails. If they care about helping put an end to hunger, a food bank could be a good fit. If a passion for arts is number one on their list, a local museum or art gallery would more than likely love to have volunteers.
Paying attention to where your teen is directing their time, or listening to what they are ranting about will help you identify and direct their passion toward a meaningful volunteer opportunity in your community. Help your teen see the draw in volunteering by presenting these opportunities as extensions of their current hobbies or knowledge opportunities for their interest areas. Teenagers can have a hard time finding jobs that correlate with what they truly love - volunteering is a way to get to the heart of that.
Take Them To A Volunteer Event
“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” - James A. Baldwin
What better way to get a teenager interested in an event or cause than by exposing them to it?
The next time you embark on a volunteering adventure, turn it into a family activity and bring them along. You can do this once a month, once a week, or whenever the opportunity lends itself.
Witnessing volunteer efforts can have a huge impact on anyone, particularly your teen. Individuals new to volunteering may not be aware of what goes on behind the scenes of a non-profit event or volunteer organization. Seeing individuals who benefit from your volunteer work first hand, getting to know them and their causes on a personal level and being able to put a human face to a person in need can turn the word “volunteering” into so much more.
Explain The Personal Benefits
Chances are, if you love what you do, you’re already talking about your volunteer efforts around the home!
We know that your volunteer motives are always well-intended, but it never hurts to mention the personal benefits that volunteering can bring an individual - especially teenagers. Talking about the good that you have seen, and the good that you have experienced in return, can really influence your teens to create some good in the community themselves.
Here’s a condensed breakdown of points from one of our previous blog posts that you can use as a conversation starter about this topic:
Volunteering is especially beneficial to teenagers applying for first-time jobs or filling out college applications. In these contexts, volunteer involvements can be used as real-life experience while also showcasing valuable learned skills such as time management and organization.
We all know how stressed out or disengaged teens can become as they attempt to balance life involvements. Do you have any tips about getting teenagers excited about volunteering.
Cover Image Credit: Harvard Health Publications