Teen Volunteering and Service Ideas
Thanks to Lion’s Heart for this guest post!
Community service is becoming a pillar in the edifice of American teenagedom. While school, sports, and even camp can be tightly scheduled and scripted experiences for students, community service offers an authentic, unscripted experience in contrast. Whether it’s serving hours towards a volunteer goal with a school group, going on Mission Trips with their faith community, or simply helping others with friends or family, volunteering is a life-changing, life-prepping activity young people should experience. These key lessons and takeaways are the strongholds of why:
1. Teens practice empathy: Putting one’s self into “another person’s shoes” isn’t always so easy for the teenage brain, especially in the fast-paced digital and social media environments they thrive in. Serving others and connecting with people of all ages and backgrounds in the “real world,” especially those in less fortunate circumstances, is an eye-opening experience. The ability to practice compassion in understanding and caring for another human being is a shared experience few activities like volunteering can offer your teen.
2. Teens learn leadership skills: Teens are on a constant mission to find their voice and develop a lasting identity as they mature into young adults. Volunteering brings out the best in everyone, and for teens in particular, can give them the courage and confidence to lead projects and groups of people they never would have thought they could. Embracing the skills and talents your teen already has, leadership opportunities can quickly follow suit, i.e. does your teen love singing? Encourage them to lead a holiday caroling group in a nearby nursing home. Does your teen enjoy cooking? Help them find an opportunity to make a meal for a local children’s shelter.
Lion’s Heart makes it easy for teens to get involved in their communities and lead service projects! With tips, tools and best practices for getting started, Lion’s Heart provides a trove of localized volunteer resources for teens as well as shares rewards, free webinars, and scholarship opportunities. Find a chapter near you today and help your teen get involved with their cause of choice, just in time for summer break! Get started >
3. Teens step out of their comfort zone: Volunteering takes guts sometimes. Pushing boundaries and comfort zones is a vital lesson teens learn when pitching in in their community. Whether it’s getting up the courage to work building a home with a group of strangers, or getting to know a child with special needs in a mentorship role, stepping out of one’s norm is powerful in the context of safe volunteer environment. As teens start practicing independence and making decisions on their own, this embrace of the “new” will benefit them greatly. Give your teen the courage to succeed with a volunteer service that has their back! LionsHeartService.org is a go-to destination that gives teens looking to make a difference in the world the tools and connections they need to get started. Learn more >
4. Teens learn time management: Like any activity that requires your teen to be on time, volunteering is a great practice in accountability. Much like a team sport or part-time job, volunteering is a group activity where other people are counting on you, and your commitment and dedication is vital to the success of the event. As teens weigh their schedules packed with homework, sports and extra-curriculars, volunteerism will take serious consideration and dedication of time. These management skills will benefit them throughout the course of their life, especially at college!
5. Teens learn that positive actions reflect well on them: Approximately 100 colleges and universities, including Ivy League Schools, are adopting a portfolio based app in place of the Common App. Why the change? While higher education institutions are interested in highly accomplished teens, they are becoming more interested in how teens use their gifts to make a positive impact in their communities. Lion’s Heart has a tool to help teens build their Volunteer Digital Portfolio for college, job, scholarship or internship applications.
A little about Lion’s Heart:
Founded in 2004, Lion's Heart is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit teen volunteer platform available to 6th – 12th grade students. The organization instills the value of community service in its Members, providing meaningful life skills through leadership opportunities and philanthropic experiences. Over the years, Members have performed a combined total of more than 510,000 volunteer hours, which equates to more than $11,000,000 in societal value.
Headquartered in Southern California, has grown to 42 chapters across 11 states, and is actively expanding its reach by adding new chapters across the country. Groups have between three and twenty teens and are organized by gender, grade, and location. Though each group has a parent Class Coordinator, the teens elect their own officers, lead their own meetings, and decide how to serve their community – with no fundraising. For more information visit their website www.lionsheartservice.org.