Working in a high school, I hear teens say all the time how bored they are.  This shocks me because I look outside into our community and see many opportunities for activity.   One way I get out there and make a difference is through Volunteerism.

United Way explores the Benefits of Volunteering: Whether it is important to you to solve a community problem, advance a worthy cause or to develop as a person, volunteering offers many benefits in appreciation for the gift of your time and expertise. Volunteering can help you:

  • Make important networking contacts
  • Learn or develop skills
  • Teach your skills to others
  • Enhance your résumé
  • Gain work experience
  • Build self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Improve your health
  • Meet new people
  • Feel needed and valued
  • Express gratitude for help you may have received in the past from an organization
  • Communicate to others that you are ambitious, enthusiastic and care about the community
  • Make a difference in someone’s life

Why Should I Volunteer “It is such a great feeling to be able to get outside out do some good in my community, especially when my friends are right by my side!” — Heidi Smith, Grand Haven MI, who volunteered in Greater Ottawa County United Way’s annual “Rake a Difference” event.

People feel great and have fun when they volunteer. Here are other reasons why young people should volunteer:

  • Enhances Development. Volunteering can benefit your psychological, social and intellectual development. Volunteering increases self-esteem, responsibility and an interest in learning and helps develop new social skills. It also provides opportunities to apply newly learned material.
  • Promotes a Healthy Lifestyle and Choices — People who volunteer are less likely to become involved in at-risk behaviors.
  • Teaches Social Responsibility – Volunteering helps teens develop empathy and learn that one person can make a difference.
  • Creates a lifelong ethic of service. Individuals who volunteer as a teen or who observed their parents volunteering have a much higher probability of being a volunteer in their adult years.
  • Improves the community. Volunteer activities are essential for advancing the common good, and YOU can be part of the change.

Don’t be bored: Talk to you school KEY CLUB leader, Student Leadership/Activities Director at school or call the United Way at 211 or visit www.LiveUnited.org to find out where you can go to volunteer some time! www.volunteermatch.org is another great resources for finding local opportunities.

Submitted by Stephanie Lange. Stephanie has her Masters in Social Work from the University of Michigan and has been employed by Dakota High School as the Student Assistance Specialist since 1999.

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