Ways You And Your Teen Can Serve Others Together

Ways You And Your Teen Can Serve Others Together

Are you looking for a way to pull your teen’s focus away from the computer screen and toward the community and helping others? If so, you might enjoy the following tips about how you can volunteer while spending some quality time with your son.

Motivating Your Son

Your teen might balk at volunteering – after all, his friends might want to hang out, or he simply prefers playing video games at home. However, explain that community service can benefit him in the following ways:

  • Giving back helps with a renewed sense of self-worth – People feel great when they work on a project that’s bigger than themselves and make a difference.
  • Learning to work with others – He will be exposed to different cultures as he works with others on a common goal.
  • Minimizing boredom – Volunteering helps eliminate the all-too-common phrase, “I’m bored.”
  • Beefing up his resume – Colleges and potential bosses appreciate seeing a student who has spent time involved in community service.
  • Learning new skills – When teens volunteer, they can learn different skills and form better ideas about their future.

Finding the Right Project

While you will want to work on a project that interests both of you, the focus is on encouraging your son to reach out to others and to be engaged in community service. As such, look for opportunities that interest him while you serve others together. A few ideas follow:

  • Support the candidates – If he is passionate about expressing political views, volunteering for a campaign can be a great way to help expose him to the world of politics.
  • Promote good health – Does he have a family member or close friend who struggles with medical challenges? Donate your time to an agency that helps the sick.
  • Teach kids – Teens often gravitate toward younger children, and they respond in kind. After-school programs, tutoring and day camp counselors can be excellent starting points for working with children.
  • Be a friend to the elderly – Scheduling a visit to a nursing home takes little training and offers great flexibility. A visit with these folks for just a few minutes will brighten their day.
  • Spend time with pets – Maybe you would rather avoid people and work with some furry friends instead. Contact your local animal shelter to see how you can give your time.
  • Keep the earth green – From cleanup to general conservation efforts to nature preservation, be a friend to our earth, whether you choose to work outdoors or in a local office.
  • Invest in special projects – You might want to donate some time over the holidays when the need is especially great. Ask a local house of worship or contact a food bank to see how you can help.

Scheduling

Between school, sports, family and other extracurricular activities, finding time to participate in the right project can be a challenge. If it works better for your schedule, consider a program where you can volunteer once every four to eight weeks instead of on a weekly basis. You might be able to invest in a longer program during the summer or over winter break, depending on time constraints.

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