Smells like Teen Spirit *Video*

During the last couple of volunteer outings, I was heartened to see groups of teenagers enthusiastically participating. In fact, the Corporation for National and Community Service has a new study out that reveals just how widespread youth volunteering is.

Volunteer Group photo by GoErinGoDid you know that:

  • 55% of all youth aged 13-18 participate in volunteer activities (nearly twice the rate of adults)
  • Youth contribute 13.2 billion hours of community service each year
  • A typical teen volunteer contributes 29 hours of volunteer service each year

Group Volunteering

The study above also notes that 64% of teen volunteers do so through an organized activity through their church, school, or local civic organization.

I volunteered with teens during parkland restoration work down in L.A. with the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy. And twice I met groups of teens volunteering at the Marin Food Bank. The first time the teens were helping package pasta for the food bank grocery store and were doing their volunteer service as a way to earn credit for their public service curriculum.

The second time, a group of about 9 young women came to the local food bank from Drake High School to help weigh and package rice. These girls were pitching in as part of a volunteer club in school that organizes teams to contribute their time and energy (which teens have lots of!) to give back to their community.

I have to admit they were pretty serious about their rice-weighing duties and gave us older adults a run for our money in terms of precision!

Solo Volunteering

For those who are more independently minded, volunteering is a great way to get out and meet like-minded individuals. I fall in this category and almost always venture out to participate in volunteer activities on my own.

So does my new buddy Ben. I met this 17-year old during the Save the Bay Coastal Clean-Up Day last month. He came to the clean-up site solo like me, but we soon joined a group of about 100 volunteers to pick up trash along the wetlands lining Oakland’s shore.

Here Ben tells us all about his myriad volunteer activities and gives advice to other teenagers:

Can’t see this video? Click this link: Ben Bissell Volunteers

Get Your Teen Involved

Interested in getting a teen involved in volunteering too? Here’re a couple of organizations that offer teen-specific volunteer programs:

Want more ideas? Just check out this blog that lists 50 Community Service Ideas for Teen Volunteers.

Youth Inspiration Abounds!

Both the groups of high school girls volunteering their Friday afternoons and Ben’s keen interest in his community inspire me. They’re all serving as role models for other young adults to think about our societal struggles and how by pitching in, we can make our local neighborhood better for everyone.

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This entry was posted on Friday, October 31st, 2014 and is filed under The Giving Guide.

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