Written by Angelica Marie Bautista
You must be wondering, what’s the point of volunteering? How will it benefit me? Well, there are many reasons to get involved in volunteering, especially as a youth. Here are 4 benefits we think youth should know about volunteering!
Explore your interests & potential career options
This is your opportunity to do what you love or even find out what you’re passionate about. The opportunities are endless when it comes to volunteering. From helping at an animal shelter to organizing food at the food bank, or even tutoring young kids on how to read, you are not limited to just one area.
If you’re interested in taking on a career path in a certain field, this might even be your chance to check if they have volunteer opportunities. You get a chance to be behind-the-scenes and observe the job you may want to take on. As well as ask all the questions you’ve been curious about!
2. Develop & gain skills
Wanting to improve on certain skills? Maybe even learn a new skill? You may not realize this, but by volunteering, you gain skills that’ll be helpful in other life situations. A study by Grant, Maass, Vettern, Harrington, O’Neil, McGlaughlin & Good (2020) found that “skills transferred to other settings in which they volunteered and into their work roles”. Anywhere from leadership skills like public speaking, communication skills, and problem solving you get quite the array of skills and benefits from volunteering.
3. Connect with people & listen to their stories
Depending on what volunteer opportunity you take on, you will always get the chance to interact with someone. Whether it’s the Volunteer Coordinator or fellow volunteers, this is your chance to interact, network, and make new friends. It’s also a way to broaden your perspective! Everyone has a story that needs to be told, through volunteering you get the chance to listen and learn. You never know when you might connect with these people along your journey or “even end up as references for you someday” (Illinois Worknet, 2021).
4. Make a difference in your community
Lastly, the best part about volunteering for an organization is the difference you’re making within the community. You get to help others! The tasks and responsibilities you take on with each opportunity may seem small but play a part in the bigger picture. Whether it be greeting someone at an event, delivering flowers to patients at the hospital, or helping during set up/take down, you have made a difference in making things happen and run smoothly. You never know, you might be cheering someone up with your smiling face!
So, explore! There are opportunities within your community waiting to be discovered! And don’t forget, have fun along the way!
Grant, S., Maass, S., Vettern, R., Harrington, R., O’Neil, K., McGlaughlin, P. & Good, T. (2020). The Impact of Volunteering: A Multi-State Study of 4-H Youth Development Volunteers. Journal of Youth Development, 15(4), 33-50. Retrieved from https://jyd.pitt.edu/ojs/jyd/article/viewFile/20-15-4-SIA-02/1080
Illinois workNet. (2021, Feb 18). Why and Where to Volunteer - Young Adults. Illinois workNet. Retrieved from https://apps.illinoisworknet.com/ArticleViewer/Article/Index/108/%7Blink%7D
Callahan, S. (2020, Oct 16). Why Volunteer? 7 Benefits of Volunteering that Will Inspire You to Take Action. Grow Ensemble. Retrieved from https://growensemble.com/why-volunteer/
Hientz, M. (2017, Oct 18). [Online Exclusive] Obvious and unexpected: the benefits of volunteering for youth. Ceric. Retrieved from https://ceric.ca/2017/10/obvious-and-unexpected-the-benefits-of-volunteering-for-youth/#:~:text=There%20are%20a%20number%20of,they%20could%20one%20day%20work.