Research indicates there are great academic, personal and community benefits for incorporating volunteerism and civic engagement into a youth development program. The benefits to the community are tangible and often financial through area improvements and other obvious results of service provided. The projects are youth driven, planned, and implemented. A team of youth will identify volunteer service opportunities or respond to a community need. Youth volunteer projects will include homeless outreach, community health outreach, neighborhood clean up, senior assistance, food and clothes distribution, etc.
Personal benefits for youth include :
Youth volunteering at least one hour per week are 50% less likely to abuse alcohol, cigarettes, become pregnant,or engage in destructive behavior.
Youth report that volunteering helped them learn to respect others, be helpful and kind, understand those who are different, develop leadership skills, become more patient and understand citizenship.
Youth who volunteer are more likely to do well in school, graduate and vote. Research also shows that after reaching adulthood, youth involved in community service are more likely to have a strong work ethic, are three times more likely to volunteer and 81% give to charitable organizations.
To increase the number of middle and high school students volunteering.
To instill a culture of volunteerism and build leadership skills through volunteering.
To instill social and civic entrepreneurial values in youth, while providing opportunities to make a difference.
To motivate students to become more involved in civic issues involving their population.
To make youth more aware and empathetic of the needs of others while improving community conditions.