When individuals give apart of themselves for others through volunteering communities can become stronger. Volunteerism not only can make communities stronger but the individuals involved. Youth volunteering goes across a wide spectrum from building a house for Habitat for Humanity to volunteering in a soup kitchen to donating clothes or food to a homeless shelter, the list is endless. Today’s youth who are interested in volunteering have numerous opportunities to give back to others and the community, in turn reaping the benefits by improving their own mental and physical health. Volunteerism in youth can open new doors to future benefits and outcomes but first we must understand the concept.
Before looking into the benefits of a volunteer let’s clarify the concept of volunteering. A volunteer can be easily defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as a person who voluntarily undertakes or expresses a willingness to undertake a service (Merriam-Webster). No clear-cut definition that encompasses all aspects of volunteering exists (Handy 46). Even though there are numerous definitions, they do not even scratch the surface of what serving others entails and the amount of endless hours, effort, and lives that are touched by volunteers. The concept of volunteering is much wider than merely giving yourself to your community as an unpaid worker, it is the concept of giving your free will for no monetary gain in hopes to build a stronger community. At a glance, statistics show that female students are more likely to volunteer than males, especially in the higher grades. In 2016, 42 percent of female twelfth graders said they volunteered at least once per month, compared with 32 percent of male twelfth graders (Child Trends).
In 2016, students planning to complete four years of college were more likely to volunteer than their peers without such plans, at 41 and 24 percent, respectively, among twelfth graders (Child Trends). High school service clubs such as National Beta Club or National Honors Society are a large contributing factor to the amount of community volunteer hours completed by youth due to the requirements as a member of the clubs. Giving a part of yourself to the community through volunteering will open new pathways to the future of the generations to come.
Understanding the concept of volunteering can lead to the outstanding benefits not only for your community but for the individuals involved. It has been shown, that youth that volunteer do better academically and tend to avoid dangerous activities. The youth that give their time to the community are shown to relate more positively to their surroundings and learn valuable leadership skills along the way. The benefits youth can receive from volunteering can include but are not limited to earning respect from peers, finding new ways to help peers, and even developing patience along the way. Not only can volunteering benefit the youth involved personally, but it can also affect the community around them without even knowing it.
The whole aspect of volunteering allows you to connect to your community but at the same time making it a better place for the future. If the youth in the community would help out with the smallest tasks, it can make a real difference to the lives of those in need. Volunteering can be viewed as a two-way street. The more the youth gives for their community, the more opportunities will arise for the future. Not only can you make a contribution to your community and make a difference in someone’s life, you can learn new skills, network for future job contacts, and gain some valuable experience–all of which can help you in your future endeavors (Saftner).