Why should your teen get involved in volunteer service? I’ll give you one reason. Your teen needs to feel like a hero.
Not every kid can be the popular one, score the winning sports goal, or win the top prize at the science fair, but every kid can do volunteer service.
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Usually, the recipients of their efforts recognize that teens have busy lives. Typically, they are very appreciative and enthusiastic when teens show up to help them. That’s what can make a kid feel like a hero.
So, how do you go about it? Even if your teen has never done volunteer service, it’s easy to find opportunities just about everywhere. For the best experience, you want to choose carefully. Help them pick something energetic and upbeat, something suited to their likes and hobbies. Hopefully, you can find something where they will have a chance to work with a group of similar-aged kids. Think telethon, food drive, leaf raking for the elderly, helping with a breast cancer walk, or a marathon event.
Working at the animal shelter, soup kitchen, or children’s hospital can be rewarding. Usually, it ends up being a great experience, but especially for more sensitive kids, those situations might be depressing or emotional. You know your teen, so use your best judgment when suggesting their first opportunities.
Helping as part of their church youth group, Scout Troop, or sports team will give your son or daughter a chance to enjoy serving alongside their friends. That might make them more enthusiastic about giving it a try. Or if they are more outgoing, it might be a chance for them to meet up with a whole new group of kids and maybe have some adventures.
My sons have been to New Orleans to help after the floods, Joplin to help with tornado cleanup, worked haunted houses, food drives, helped with daycares, and worked with kids from Northern Ireland. Those are some amazing experiences they wouldn’t have had otherwise. And they have learned that their lives are pretty cushy compared to other people’s – despite all their complaining about chores. Now, even my grandkids are starting to get involved in their own volunteer service opportunities, which I find very exciting.
Afterward, you could take them out for a special meal and let them tell you all about their experience. Every hero loves an appreciative audience. Plus, it’s a good time to start planning their next adventure.