Noah first experienced volunteering at the age of 7, when he helped with the soccer program at his summer camp. “I realized I could make a difference, even as a kid,” says Noah. Within a few years, he began coaching preschool soccer.
He’s also served as an ambassador at his church, and he’s assisted kids with their art projects at summer camp. He’s been part of a group that beautified schools and parks with painting and landscaping. The most impressive part? He did all this before he even turned 14. And by that time, he was already hooked.
When asked his favorite part of volunteering, Noah responds, “I love the smiles, hugs and thank yous.”
Since age 14, Noah has taken on a magnitude of other volunteer projects.
Volunteers such as Noah are filled with enthusiasm and passion. Yet, many organizations are hesitant to bring on young volunteers. When young volunteers are turned away due to their age, you risk squelching a passion for change that is just emerging. As Susan Ragsdale wrote in a recent guest post for this blog:
“We can’t afford to wait until young people are grown up before they understand or learn about society’s problems, find their voice, take action, and have an impact. We need to harness their energies, perspectives, gifts, and understandings today as actors in finding solutions for today’s challenges. We need them and they need us. Take a chance and start seeking young people out as volunteers.”
But remember, there are both pros and cons to engaging youth volunteers. Each organization must consider their unique situation to determine if engaging youth volunteers will be worthwhile or even plausible.
Are you ready to start involving youth volunteers, but aren’t sure where to start? Check out these 6 Tips for Hosting Youth Volunteers. And when posting your volunteer opportunity on VolunteerMatch.org, don’t forget to check the boxes that say the opportunity can accommodate kids and/or teens. This will help your post be found by the change makers of the future. Or, if we let them be, the change makers of the present.
Tess loves her role as VolunteerMatch's Senior Marketing Manager because she gets to put words to work for social good! When not reading and writing, Tess spends her time obsessing over her cat and getting excited about food. She holds a Master’s of Nonprofit Leadership and a B.A. in Public Relations.