Guest post by Warren Fowler.
Volunteering is often thought of as a selfless act — one where you give up your time for a worthy cause without being paid. While this may be true, what is often less obvious are the many benefits people experience when they volunteer.
For teens especially, volunteer work can help them broaden their horizons, meet new friends, experience different cultures or learn a new language, all while contributing to society’s needs. Here are some of the many ways volunteering can help young people develop into confident, proactive citizens.
1. Build Self-Esteem
Though faced with society’s most challenging problems, many teens ultimately find volunteer work empowering. While working on solutions to these problems, they have the chance to see how their efforts can help improve the lives of others. This can play a significant role in developing their self-esteem throughout their teenage years when many are filled with insecurities and a lack of self-confidence.
In fact, teenagers who volunteer often experience fewer mental health problems than those who don’t. When they see how their actions affect a community for the better, their self-confidence spikes and they feel happier.
2. Widen Their Social Circle
A teenager’s social circle typically consists of family and school friends. Volunteering gives youth the opportunity to meet people outside of their usual circle, some of whom may have a positive impact on their future. Volunteering provides the perfect opportunity to meet like-minded people and form relationships that last a lifetime.
Young people will also learn to relate to people from a wide variety of backgrounds and generations, and may even help them find a mentor who can teach them what they won’t learn within the confines of a classroom. These individuals may also be good candidates for letters of recommendation when it comes time to apply to colleges or jobs.
3. Explore & Discover Interests
When selecting an opportunity, teens can volunteer in an area where they have some interest. For example, if they’re thinking about a career in medicine, they might want to volunteer at a hospice. Or if they’re passionate about animal rights, they could consider helping out at their local animal shelter. And if they’re not sure where their passions lie, participating in a few different single days of service can help them discover untapped interests.
4. Gain Work Experience
Volunteering also gives teens an opportunity to experience situations that occur in the workplace, such as having to work as part of a team. They see what people have to do in certain jobs and the conditions in which they have to work. This helps them eliminate what they can’t see themselves doing and drill down to what they really want to do.
Plus, volunteer work can impress a future employer. It indicates that the individual has empathy for others, has gained some real-life experience outside of school and is prepared to step outside of their comfort zone to achieve goals. They may also learn specific skills while volunteering that look good on a resume.
Volunteer work is certainly a testament to a teenager’s character that he or she is willing to work to bring about change. Volunteering is where young people can learn what they are passionate about. It is where they find confidence and develop skills that will serve them for many years ahead. Visit VolunteerMatch.org and search for opportunities yourself!
Author Bio: Warren Fowler is a marketing enthusiast and a blogger at BestEssays, who loves music. If he doesn’t have a guitar in his hands, he’s probably embracing new technologies and learning new marketing techniques online! You can meet him on Twitter and Facebook.