Volunteering is great for the soul and the community at large, but it also can provide a lot of benefits for kids and teens seeking experience and personal or professional growth. It teaches time management and organization skills, builds self-confidence, and may give your child a leg-up over their peers when heading into the workforce. This article gives you 5 reasons why your child should start volunteering!
- Job Application & Interview Practice
There’s no better way for your child to prepare for a future job than by getting into the workforce and experiencing it for themselves. In order to apply for a volunteer position, organizations often require a resumé, an interview, perhaps a background screening or a driver’s abstract check, as well as other paperwork specific to the role. This is excellent practice for kids, as they will have to acquaint themselves with this process sooner or later.
Many volunteer roles are found on the same popular job board websites as professional paid jobs, such as Indeed and Monster. Familiarizing themselves with the format and application process of these sites is a great way for your child to kick-start their “job hunting” mentality. They will also be exposed to paid roles in the same industry for future consideration.
Volunteering allows your child to test-drive a variety of different career paths without making any long-term commitments. Will they prefer working in an office environment versus working outside with their hands? Will they prefer interacting with people or with technology? By volunteering in various different roles and organizations they have a much better chance of finding out!
Once your child starts volunteering, they will gain an understanding of the challenges and rewards, both internal and external, involved in the role, the company, and the industry simply by giving their time.
- Skill Building & Work Experience
The vast majority of jobs nowadays require some sort of experience. But the challenge for kids and students is how they actually get the experience if they do not have any on their resume already? Well, the answer is volunteering!
Gaining real-world work experience is a MAJOR reason why your child should start volunteering. Organizations are always looking for young volunteers to add to their teams, so kids have a better chance of their applications being accepted.
Generally speaking, volunteering demonstrates the ability to make a commitment, complete tasks, and be a part of a team. It also shows willingness to work hard and maintain dedication, which are valuable skills that employers look for when hiring interns and employees. If your child finds that they want to stick around in a particular role, there may even be opportunities for them to move to a leadership role or a paid position.
Volunteering is an awesome and fun way of meeting new people. It can help kids make new friends, expand one’s social network, and boost social skills. Depending on the role and the company, volunteering can expose kids to a variety of different cultures and backgrounds, in turn broadening their worldview. It also enables them to interact with people with similar interests and potentially people who will be able to help them professionally.
Whether the volunteer position involves tutoring or mentoring, connecting with senior citizens, or providing a helping hand at community events, your child will feel a sense of accomplishment knowing that they have made a difference in the lives of others.
Last but not least, gaining references is a super important reason why your child should start volunteering. After volunteering with an organization, your child can expect to receive a reference from their supervisor or manager. Often references are simply a phone call, email, or a written letter.
Some organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity, offer a work experience certificate for their volunteers. These certificates include skills learned and/or the number of volunteer hours achieved. Regardless of the type of reference, having someone who can vouch for your child’s experience and skills is an extremely valuable asset at the start of their career journey and can go a very long way.
These 5 reasons why your child should start volunteering are just a small selection out of the many reasons, both personal and professional. Volunteering is a two-way gift that benefits the organization and the community as a whole. It’s never too early or too late volunteer, as it offers a win-win opportunity for all parties involved.
Author: Steve Gagnon