More and more high schools require high school students to fulfill several hours of volunteering before they can graduate. As a parent and an educator, I see plenty of positives that go along with asking high school students to contribute to their community.
With countless ways to volunteer, every student should be able to find a duty in the community that will excite them about becoming valuable citizens of society. A few examples of volunteering would be contributing at:
- Animal shelters
- Food banks
- Homeless shelters
- Soup kitchens
- Cleaning up the community
- Aid a local church
- Assist the elderly
- Help with youth athletic leagues
- Tutoring others (and if you know someone who needs a professional tutor that can work with a child in person or remotely, iAchieve has it covered)
Take Ownership of the Community
Community pride develops as a person gets older. However, by asking high school students to volunteer, they will build civic pride before they even turn 18 years old.
Develop Empathy for Others
It is often difficult to truly put yourself in someone else’s shoes. There are countless heartbreaking tales in the media nowadays that we quickly digest for a few seconds and then move on from. By volunteering, these occurrences are no longer seen on the nightly news. They make an impact. Some students often struggle with developing empathy for others. There is a great deal of bullying stories that will back this up. By implementing volunteering programs, students should sympathize with those who need a helping hand.
Learn Job Skills
I hesitate to say this as an educator who has worked with thousands of students, but sometimes the kids earning high scores in the classroom lack some of the most basic job skills. Of course, they may go on to become doctors or presidents of Fortune 500 companies, but getting experience starting from the ground up will only increase their ability to be employed later in life.
Establish Abilities to Work Well with Others
Remember how the teacher used to put students into groups now and then to tackle a project? Part of the reason they were doing this, one of the main ones, was to help students learn how to work well with others. This often isn’t an easy skill to master. Most adults still have problems with it. But by volunteering, a kid will receive plenty of experience working with others from all walks of life.
Improves Mental Health
Nothing entirely does the soul as good as helping people with their problems. Research has determined that volunteering and assisting others lowers anxiety and depression. For students who are struggling with mental health issues because of school, stress, or even family life, volunteering could be just the remedy they need.
Gives Life Purpose
Sometimes we all wonder exactly what we are doing here. High school students are no different. Through volunteering, they will understand helping others will provide fullness to their life that might have previously been lacking.
Don’t Wait for Volunteering to Be a High School Requirement
Even if a high school does not ask their students to spend time volunteering in their community, parents should step in and request for their children to do so. After determining all the positives that go hand in hand with volunteering, perhaps every able-bodied adult should consider doing the same.