Have you thought about this? Well, it is a question that is coming up more often these days for teenagers. There are several answers you may want to think about. Volunteering offers an opportunity to “practice” working. Teens are offered an opportunity to see what it is like to work in a particular field—like volunteering in a hospital or with Hospice allows an opportunity to check out what an occupation in the health services field might be like. Interested in being a teacher? What about being a tutor to other students?
Working as a volunteer offers a chance not only to build experience, but also to discover special talents and abilities along with gaining new skills and helping to develop self-confidence. Volunteering lets teens do more of what they enjoy doing. Interested in animals? You could get involved with an organization that provides horse riding as therapy or at a wildlife center. Is being outdoors fun? Try a volunteer job in a national park or to the seashore. There are many areas in which young people are needed as volunteers: childcare, visiting seniors, clerical or computer projects, language translation, food preparation and service, gardening, and more.
There are other motivations for teens to volunteer. Some schools now have Youth Service and Service Learning programs, which encourage or require young people to commit a certain number of hours in service to the community. Sometimes projects are done as a group, other times, as an individual activity.
Teens often decide to give of their time and talents for the same reason that adults do—they want to give something to their community. They want to do something helpful and positive for others, to support a cause they believe in, or to make their town, city or country a better place in which to live. No matter what inspires interest in a volunteer activity, the effort is worthwhile. In giving, one will gain. When you are willing to give your time for free, doors open for you and employers are willing to give you responsibility frequently reserved for more experienced individuals.