Many of you are making final preparations for the upcoming school year while others have already started. In both instances, I encourage you to leave time in your schedule for your teens to volunteer in their neighborhood, community or church.
You may be saying, “Oh dear, something else to think about and add to the plan. Is it really necessary?” No, but the experience is considered an asset to your teens’ resumes. It shows that they are interested in serving their communities. In addition, your teens are establishing habits of generosity that will hopefully follow them into adulthood. Giving in this manner is easy to do as organizations are always thrilled to have extra pairs of hands.
Volunteering offers many benefits to teens. They will meet interesting people, learn new skills, discover new interests, and more. Maybe an opportunity will arise that dovetails nicely with a course you are teaching and will enhance the teen’s appreciation by seeing it from the practical side. Some activities may provide sources for letters of recommendation for college, scholarship, or job applications. Others can simply be fun!
Where can you find ways to volunteer? One place is right in your own neighborhood. Do you have neighbors who could use a helping hand during busy yard seasons or with their computers? Your teen could even organize and supervise a neighborhood clean-up day, bringing everyone together. It might be a way for people to meet each other, sometimes for the first time in years.
Your community offers many places to look. Libraries, food/clothing pantries, nursing homes are all venues your teens can lend a helping hand, take their smiles, and show the love of Christ.
Your church is a natural place to encourage service. Teens are not too young to teach Sunday school classes, help in the nursery or library, run the sound system, or greet newcomers. Having a definite place to serve will give them a better understanding of the importance of the body of Christ and his or her place in it.
Your locale will determine your choices. To stir your imagination and search, take a look at the Volunteer section of HSLDA’s high school website. As your teen takes part in giving to others because so much has been given to him/her, keep records (name of organization, approximate number of hours, acquired skills, commendation letters, etc.) as the activities are participated in rather than relying on your memory. It’ll save much time in the senior year when your teen completes the college or job applications.
Volunteering is really a means to train our teens to be servants. When we emulate Christ in this way, we bless our communities and all those who come across our paths.
In His service,