Whether it’s the quickly approaching Christmas break, a weekend, or the summer, teens often have a lot of downtime. Crafting, hanging out with friends, and playing video games can only go so far before we hear the defeating words: “I’m bored.”
As a teen, parent, friend, mentor — whatever, “bored” is a word you never want to hear. To make sure keep boredom at bay, consider trying or suggesting new hobbies. Plenty of options exist, but Charity Nerds recommends volunteering.
Volunteering comes with a multitude of benefits, so we’re here to give tell you why volunteer opportunities for teens are so important.
Volunteering benefits your health.
According to a 2013 study, 76 percent of adults who volunteer report that volunteering makes them feel physically better, and 78 percent report that volunteering lowers their stress. The same benefits apply to teens as well.
Additionally, studies have shown that approximately 20 percent of teens experience depression before adulthood. Volunteering forces teamwork, which builds social interaction and support networks. Both of those effects have been proven to decrease depression.
Helping others also releases dopamine in your brain, which makes you feel good!
Volunteering benefits others.
Countless organizations would no longer exist without the help of volunteers. Habitat for Humanity wouldn’t have habitats, Ronald McDonald wouldn’t have a House, and the local YMCA wouldn’t run. Whether you volunteer with an organization that allows you to interact directly with recipients or not, the good you do while volunteering helps organizations help people.
Not only does the volunteer work you’re doing actually help others, it helps others feel supported. Many people who benefit from volunteers feel alone, down on their luck, disappointed, or scared. Knowing that people are banning together to help them in a tough time helps recipients see that they’re not alone and that their community cares about them.
Volunteering benefits your resume.
Jobs and internships can take up a lot of time and have a strict schedule, but volunteering is often flexible and looks just as good on your resume.
While grades and test scores remain the biggest factors in college acceptance, being a good citizen can help sway admissions in your favor. Colleges don’t necessarily care about the hours you spend volunteering. Instead, they care about what you did, why you did it, and what you got out of it. Expressing those sentiments in a personal statement is a perfect way to give you an edge.
Volunteering can also help your job chances. A study tracking jobless people between 2002 and 2012 found that people who volunteered had a 27 percent higher chance of getting hired. Volunteering allows you to build skills and gain experience needed for future jobs.
Volunteering makes a difference.
We could spout hundreds of more reasons why volunteering is important, but ultimately, it makes a difference. Instead of making momentary pleasure like a video game, volunteering makes a difference, and that makes giving up your Saturday plans worth it.
If you’re looking for volunteer opportunities in Gainesville, Florida, check out what we’re doing at Charity Nerds!