Thoughtful Teens – Why Volunteering Is Good For Adolescents

Written by on June 21, 2013 in Family - No comments | Print this page

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teenagers

Teenagers have a bit of a bad rep. Society tends to label them as moody, insolent and selfish, and these are just the ones who aren’t getting into trouble.

If there’s a teen in a hoody, then by Jove, they are probably about to steal your car or give your Granny crack. You have to feel sorry for them really, their only real crime is being in that awkward, and occasionally torturous, transitional period of heading towards adulthood.

They’re not a child or a grown-up. They want to have a beer and stay up late but they also still want to watch Tom and Jerry and eat Haribo Sours under a duvet.

Teens are full of hormones and feel crappy and everyone is on their case. Adolescence is tough, especially when society has these negative preconceptions.

Have you considered suggesting volunteering?  Have a read on and maybe show this to your son/daughter to see why volunteering can have a positive effect on the wellbeing and prospects of teenagers.

Work Experience

It’s really difficult for teenagers starting out in the world of work to have anything of significance on their CV. There are grades, of course, but these only go someway towards painting a picture of the whole person.

An employer wants to know how you will work as a team and whether you are responsible and reliable. He can’t get this information from English/Maths grades, especially as hundreds of others will have equally good marks.

If you can show that you volunteered for an organization off your own back, then this not only shows initiative and motivation, it shows that you will have already gained some transferable skills such as time-keeping and commitment.

You will also be able to leave with a reference. All of this will help to set you apart from the crowd.

New Skills

Gaining new skills is not just about arming yourself with as much as possible for a future career. Volunteering can be a great way to develop new interests and hobbies for your recreational time too.

It’s just as important to develop yourself as a whole person. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut with what you do in your free time.

Looking through volunteering websites such as Do-It will show you just how much variety there is, and maybe you can search for a role doing something you’ve always wanted to try such as football coaching, or something you’ve never thought of but might enjoy, such as making a visit to an old people’s home. The possibilities are endless.

Health and Wellbeing

Adolescence is a difficult time as hormones are raging. Most teens feel stressed and angry and have mood swings and these can sometimes feel overwhelming. It is proven that doing things to help others helps lift our mood.

As well as getting you out of the house and being active, helping others less fortunate than can help to remind us to be grateful for what we do have, and this can make things seem more positive.

Always visit your doctor if you feel that things are unmanageable or you need extra support, either for yourself, or for a family member

Making a difference

One of the most important lessons to come out of volunteering is, hopefully, the realization that helping others is a good thing to do for its own sake, not just to further our own well-being and prospects.

It’s good to instill this attitude at a young age. A young teen could help with a small local role, but as they get older, they could plan to help with more sophisticated fundraising jobs, or even something very exciting like an international trip to help build a school.

Humans have to share the world with one another and sometimes life requires doing things for the good of society. Altruism is definitely a positive attribute to encourage.

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Sam Wright is a journalist working for ThirdSectorVolunteering

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