What Kids Can Learn From Volunteering
If volunteering begins at an early age, it can become part of kids' lives — something they might just expect and want to do.
It can teach them:
*A sense of responsibility. By volunteering, kids and teens learn what it means to make and keep a commitment. They learn how to be on time for a job, do their best, and be proud of the results. But they also learn that, ultimately, we're all responsible for the well-being of our communities.
*That one person can make a difference. A wonderful, empowering message for kids is that they're important enough to have an impact on someone or something else.
*The benefit of sacrifice. By giving up a toy to a less fortunate child, a child learns that sometimes it's good to sacrifice. Cutting back on recreation time to help clean up a beach tells kids that there are important things besides ourselves and our immediate needs.
*Tolerance. Working in community service can bring kids and teens in touch with people of different backgrounds, abilities, ethnicity, ages, and education and income levels. They'll learn that even the most diverse individuals can be united by common values.
*Job skills. Community service can help young people decide on their future careers. Are they interested in the medical field? Hospitals and clinics often have teenage volunteer programs. Do they love politics? Kids can work on the real campaigns of local political candidates. Learning to work as a team member, taking on leadership roles, setting project goals — these are all skills that can be gained by volunteering and will serve kids well in any future career.
*How to fill idle time wisely. If kids aren't involved in traditional after-school activities, community service can be a wonderful alternative.