Youth Volunteering In the Community

by Matt B.

In today’s society of volunteers, we are noticing a big drop in volunteers because most of our volunteers are at the ages of 50-60 years old and when each year goes by, we are losing a good amount of volunteers (Halton Hills, 2014). A couple of reasons why we are losing volunteers each year is because of the person’s age and also not introducing volunteerism to young adolescents. When a child hits the age of 12, they should be introduced and involved with volunteerism because as we discussed in class we talked about how it improves various skills, improve their academic performance, reinforce positive social values, and facilitate connection to the community.

When the youth volunteer, it benefits almost everyone who is involved because it targets the population, the community and most especially it targets the volunteers themselves. Volunteerism has important implications for positive youth development. Among other things, it encourages a sense of service and responsibility toward others, provides a venue for developing skills and relationships, and facilitates the development of various social skills such as empathy (Volunteer Airdrie, 2014). It is essential that young adolescents are encouraged to participate in volunteer endeavors.

When youth volunteer they learn the process of social integration because it is important for young adolescents to experience the sense of belonging and responsibility to become productive citizens and participates and creativity. Social integration for young adolescents is helpful in supporting the youth’s transitions from school to productive adulthood and it empowers young people to function as partners and to be able to achieve meaningful development goals (Konstantinos Alexandris, 2014).

Young adolescents learn and develop at different rates because many young adolescents can sit for long periods of time at a desk tackling complex subjects like geometry, biology, and poetry. Other teens show that they work better with their hands or show interest in the way things work. Some young adolescents appear to be disinterested in everything that has to do with academics, and strain with their school work because they think only of dismissal so that they can hang out with their friends or go home and play video games. If this kind of group of young adolescents volunteered in an event that they were interested in, then they would slowly increase the motivation of doing their school work or being attentive in the classroom because this group of young adolescents would be focused and interested in the event and their duties and they would also learn different skills without even knowing it.

I volunteered at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital one time when I was 15 years old. One of my aunts worked as a nurse there and there was a 75 year old man who had Alzheimer’s disease. He was there recovering from his surgery that he had two days prior. My aunt told me that he loved to play crazy eights and at that time I didn’t really know how to play the game. When the man met me, his first question was “Do you play crazy eights?” and I told him no and then he said that he will teach me. I played crazy eights with this senior man for two and a half hours and then my aunt told me that it was time for him to rest. Before I left, I remember him saying to me, “Young fella you made my day by having the patience to play a card game with me and talk with me and I thank you for that.”

When youth volunteer in their communities or in other events, it doesn’t just benefit the youth themselves, but everyone around them.

References

– Halton Hill, 2014 http://www.haltonhills.ca/communitygroups/pdf/Leadership/KeepingYouthVolunteers.pdf

– Volunteer Airdrie, 2014
http://volunteerairdrie.ca/volunteer_youth.htm

– Konstantinos Alexandris, 2014
http://www.muimun.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/CSocD_topicA.pdf

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5 Responses to Youth Volunteering In the Community

  1. madelineakennedy says:

    Great article!
    I agree that youth volunteerism is very important, and benefits all those involved (and even those who are not directly involved!).
    One point you made that I really like, is that volunteering can act as a venue for youth who traditionally do not excel in school, due to the “learning from the book” method often used. Volunteering provides an alternate learning source, one that is hands-on, tailored to their interests (depending if they choose an appropriate placement for themselves), and provides great experiences.
    For example, a student may not excel in math, but if they have to fundraise for an event, they will get an opportunity to work on basic math skills. Doing this may also expose the student to real-life use of math, and may spark an interest in it, so they may then do better in class.
    Volunteering may show youth that there are more paths to take following school, other than math, English, or science. Maybe they worked at a multi-cultural society, and decided they wanted to do International Developmental Studies, or they worked in a mechanics shop, and decided they want to go to college.
    Volunteering can not only help in youth development, but it can expose youth to new opportunities, and potential future careers.
    Madeline K.

  2. jordandavenport says:

    I agree that we need to find a way to get more youth volunteering in today’s society. There are many positive things that can come of youth volunteering; it can give youth good sense of belonging in the community. Volunteering is something that can leave lasting impressions on a child’s life; it can also give youth positive roles in the community. I believe that a community has to be welcoming of youth and find ways to encourage them to get involved with the community. Adults need to realize that getting youth involved at a young age can lead to greater success in the future. Allowing youth the chance to get involved can help improve their academic performance. I think that youth do care and they like the feeling when they can put a smile on someone’s face and hear the words thank you from an adult.

    Volunteering can also help youth get an insight into many different career opportunities in which they could potentially pursue in their future. When getting youth involved leaders need to make sure that youth are able to give feedback and their thoughts on the volunteering experience, when getting feedback it will help communities improve their volunteering experiences.

    Jordan D.

  3. draywells says:

    You got that right Matt, the number of youth volunteering these days has dropped quite a bit. It seems like all that kids want to be doing is watching TV, or playing on their iPad or I phones. It is a great idea where you said that all kids should be introduced into volunteerism in young adolescents. Maybe every year in school kids should have a certain amount of hours they have to volunteer that would be such a good idea so that everyone literally has to do it. I feel like people don’t understand the importance of volunteering until they actually go out and do it themselves. It is not only beneficial to others but it is very beneficial as well as rewarding to yourself. It was really nice to hear about your own experience volunteering at the hospital that must have been such a rewarding experience for you. You defiantly made that man happy. More of us should be going into hospitals and nursing homes and spend time with these people because they are probably pretty lonely. I know I for one would love to do something like this. Great blog Post!
    Desiray. W

  4. Awesome post Matt! I couldn’t agree with you more on the basis of youth volunteering. Just like you said, it impacts the whole community and not just the youth themselves. Every adolescent is different and not all of them will volunteer, but it is a good step in allowing them to volunteer in things they are interested in. They will improve various skills, and overall have a better sense of the community. I had the opportunity to volunteer when I was playing Under 12 FDSA, and not all the players wanted to do it. We weren’t forced to go, but I decided to go because I was always taught, it never hurts to help others and that sometimes you can’t always just think about yourself. We basically made brochures at the computer science building at UNB for a company that really needed help in getting things going. I felt good about it and continued volunteering whenever I had the chance. Youth today are more interested in themselves rather than looking out for others. Not only would they develop various skills and have a better connection with the community, but adults will value the youth a lot more and they will be perceived as assets in the making. I’m currently volunteering with youth who have a disability. It is part of one of my classes that I volunteer with youth who have disabilities but I planned on volunteering anyway so it kinda works out. I plan on volunteering with them throughout the year. Some of these youth are actually volunteering as well at certain schools working with youth that are younger than them who have a disability as well.

  5. haileyrendell says:

    Great post Matt!
    I fully agree with you that volunteering not only helps the people of the community but teaches youth skills as well. It is just a thing people should make time for, and I don’t understand how society can function otherwise. It is the small things that truly make a difference in someones day. One of my favorite examples of this is at the seniors home my grandma used to live in they had purposefully built a day care right next to it. Every couple of days the children would go over and make crafts or have the seniors read to them or do different activities. They were volunteering and they didn’t even know it. Not only did they children get to learn things, they also made the seniors day, just as you did.
    Volunteering can come in many different ways and is not only a good way to teach youth compassion and to care about others but is often a way youth can learn job skills or time management to show employers they are committed to working. Not only that but it is a good time to socialize and get to meet people that have similar interests.
    Hailey R.

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