4 Reasons Teens Should Volunteer NOW!
by Adam Montano, San Miguel High School Corporate Work Study Intern
In high school, applying for work can be difficult, especially when you have no previous work experience. This is where volunteering comes in. Volunteer work is important for teenagers in high school because it’ll prepare you for the future. Volunteer work boosts your resume, develops skills, provides new experiences and can help you find your passion.
Keep reading for details on how volunteering today can put you on the track for academic and professional success.
Boosts Academic Career
Colleges will often look for displays of leadership and being a good citizen in applications. Volunteer experience is the most effective way to display leadership and good citizenship in your application. Most programs like National Honors Society or English Honors Society require students to complete a certain number of hours of volunteer work and some schools even make 30 hours of volunteer work a requirement to graduate! Develops Professional Skills
Volunteer work will help teach you skills that can be immediately applied in the workplace. When volunteering, you can build collaborative skills. Sure you can learn team work with group projects in school, but you’ll learn much more building a house with people you just met with an organization like Habitat for Humanity, or you might learn customer service skills when handing out food for people at a local soup kitchen or Community Gardens of Tucson. Teamwork and customer service will also help you build more confidence when speaking with others if you’re shy.
Other essential skills that can be learned when volunteering are time management and accountability. Practicing time management and accountability are vital for any organization and when learning to be part of a team.
Builds Networking Skills
By volunteering, you’ll meet new people from different backgrounds and make friends that you might not have expected to make. You’re also building connections with organizations that might lead to a job or a recommendation for hire. The people you meet can also be references on your resume. When volunteering don’t forget the real reason that you are giving back, it shouldn’t only be to benefit yourself but to help others, make a difference and make new friends!
Helps Find Your Passion
When considering volunteer opportunities, you should start with ones that interest you. By volunteering at a museum, hospital, or animal shelter you can learn what it’s like to work in those certain fields. This is a great way to learn what you like and don’t like before you even get an actual job. When searching for volunteer opportunities, remember to look local and encourage your friends to do the same.
Your school is a valuable resource for volunteer opportunities. Check with you administrators for programs that can help you land volunteer work or even a paid position! For example, San Miguel High School has a Corporate Work Study Program, that allows me to work in professional environments like Hughes where I have learned much more than volunteering. Ask your school if they have opportunities similar to this.
Don’t wait to volunteer until you are required. Get real world work experience by volunteering with organizations that offer walk-in opportunities like Casa Maria or look for opportunities on social media. You can also check with your local community food bank and find out if they need any volunteers.
In some cases, volunteering doesn’t require work experience and in some organizations you can volunteer as young as fourteen years old, check out this post by Tucsontopia, "Places for Teen Volunteers in Tucson" for some great organizations. Volunteering as a teenager can have a huge positive impact on your future. Start today to learn qualities that are applied in the workforce and everyday adult life.