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3 ways to help teenagers find themselves through Volunteering

‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.’ Gandhi

As the parent or teacher of a student in years 10 to 12, I’m sure you agree these few years have the potential to be overwhelming and filled with unknowns. Students are making choices about where they are heading without necessarily knowing what direction that is.

One way that teens can find their path and have more certainty about their decisions is to volunteer within their community. Even the smallest volunteering task can make a significant and real difference to the lives of people, animals, and organisations in need, and this includes amazing benefits to you, the volunteer.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the known and hidden benefits of being a volunteer:

Build confidence and self-esteem

It has often been said that ‘the best way to give you more confidence is to do something good for someone else.’ Volunteering exposes a student to different people and can enable more connection and confidence by working with diversity, can create a positive change in their life and give them a sense of purpose which can be more easily identified. Getting validation through volunteering other than receiving validation from those they normally spend time with is a sure way to boost self-esteem.

Personal skills development

When a person is volunteering it enables them to build relationships not only with their peers but also adults with different experiences than their own. It gives young people the opportunity to improve on lifelong communication, interpersonal and critical thinking skills and, also, workplace skills.

Improve your job opportunities

Volunteering demonstrates to potential employers that the student is committed to their community, they can get along with others and make a commitment. Applying for jobs in today’s super competitive world can be daunting and sometimes frustrating for young people. Having a demonstrated commitment in volunteering can be the edge that will have an employer look more favourably upon a candidate.

Volunteering attracts people from all ages, walks of life and backgrounds, just like in the real world. It is therefore important that a student can demonstrate that they can work with others; it demonstrates patience, empathy, understanding, problem solving and communication skills – all important soft skills that employers look for. Doing something for free tells a potential employer the candidate is dedicated and is more likely, a hard worker.

So now that you know about the benefits, let’s take a look at how you can guide a teen towards suitable opportunities. Let their passion and interests direct them to volunteering opportunities and this may lead them to discover a career they hadn’t considered.

To assist your young people in deciding where to volunteer start by asking them what they are passionate about. Consider what industry aligns with their values and interests. Whether this is in animal welfare, environmental conservation or supporting vulnerable people there is an organisation or community group that needs them.

Not sure on how to go about finding the right fit? Here are some questions to point your teens in the right direction.

To find a volunteer position that’s right for your teens, help them look for something that matches their personality, skills, and desires. Ask them if there is something specific, they want to do or achieve as a volunteer. Consider what industry they would like to get a job in and look for volunteering opportunities in that sector. Remind them, they can make a difference…

‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’ Gandhi

Your teenagers will learn more about the significant benefits of volunteering by enrolling in the Certificate II in Active Volunteering. Contact our office for more details on how you can bring this valuable and insightful course to your school.




Happy volunteering.

Wera Smith
Blueprint Career Development