Teen Volunteers

LaDawn Stoddard with the Utah Commission on Volunteers, shares tips to on how to help get your teenager hooked on volunteering.

It has been proven that adults who engaged in service as youth are 66% more likely to engage in service as adults and give more generously to philanthropic organizations than those who had not.

Utah teens volunteer more than teens in any other state. According to the “Volunteering in America” report, 44.4% of Utah teens volunteer, nationally only 25.5%.

Finding the right opportunity for your teenager is all about finding a project that will interest your teen. Below are some tips and things to consider for parents when searching for the right volunteer opportunity for your teen.

   • Be practical about the commitment your teen can make
o Long term or short term?
o A one off event or a continuing obligation
o A daily/weekly/monthly or yearly commitment?
   • Find out what cause your teen cares about
   • What skills/experiences can your teen bring to the job?

   • What skills/experiences can your teen LEARN from the job?

o Experience
o Responsibility
o Resume booster
o RESEARCH: Power skills: How Volunteerism Shapes Professional    Success
   • Volunteers report an increase in skills through volunteering
      • Leadership
      • Communications
      • Patience
   • Look for projects that empower teens with decision making       and with larger personal responsibility

o Something that makes them think about others’ needs
o Something that requires a commitment to follow through on a    promise
   • Projects that build and develop problem solving skills
o Something that makes them look at problems from different    points of view
o Something that makes them consider the outcomes of their    actions
o Something that broadens your teen’s perspective from their    normal day to day

We recently ran a search on our Volunteer Matching tool on our website www.volunteers.utah.gov and found some great projects your teen can take on:
   • Park revitalization
   • Collect coats for the winter
   • Take on a meal delivery route
   • Tutor kids in an after school program
   • Be a senior companion
   • Lead activities for a youth camps

There are numerous opportunities to serve through a volunteer matching database on the Commission website www.volunteers.utah.gov. This database can be searched by interest, location, skills, etc. As senior you have a lot to offer. Your valuable life experience and knowledge can help improve and make the difference in someone’s life.

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