HEALTH MATTERS

Challenging youths through volunteer service

2013-04-09T23:55:00Z Challenging youths through volunteer serviceBy Sara Rehmer For The Gazette The Billings Gazette
April 09, 2013 11:55 pm  • 

Negative stereotypes about young people are all too common. Adults tend to criticize young people’s lifestyles, attitudes and outlook. But most young people are productive members of society who outperform adults when it comes to volunteering. Fifty-five percent of young people participate in volunteer service as compared to 29 percent of adults.

On Saturday, April 27, youth ages 11 to 18 can get involved in volunteer projects through a Global Youth Service Day event called Youth in Action. Here are a few good reasons why parents and other adults should encourage them to get involved.

When youth volunteer, everyone reaps the benefits. By one estimate, young volunteers contribute more than $60 billion annually to the U.S. economy. Their efforts help cut costs for various service organizations and make those services available to a larger audience.

The larger community also benefits, since volunteerism promotes positive citizenship, encouraging youths to be more engaged in their communities. Youth who volunteer feel more connected to their community, are more likely to show concern for their communities, and more likely to remain or return to their communities. In that way, youth volunteerism contributes substantially to community vitality.

Finally, while volunteerism focuses on helping others, the biggest benefits to volunteering are often reaped by the volunteers themselves. Studies suggest that youth who volunteer just one hour or more a week are 50 percent less likely to abuse alcohol, use tobacco and other drugs, become pregnant or engage in destructive behavior. Youth who volunteer are also more likely to do well in school, graduate and vote.

Teens say the benefits they receive from volunteering are: Learning to respect others; learning to be helpful and kind; learning to understand people who are different; developing leadership skills, becoming more patient, and getting a better understanding of the responsibilities that come with citizenship.

Young volunteers surveyed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics mentioned several ways they were encouraged to become involved:

• They were approached/asked by an organization

• They were asked by someone in a school or organization they were already involved in

• They were asked by relatives or friends

Becoming involved in causes that help other people is an essential component of positive youth development. Volunteering provides social and practical skills that can help young people succeed in life, and get them more engaged in their own communities. Today’s youth lead busy lives, but volunteerism can help them develop in many valuable ways.

Sara Rehmer is a prevention health specialist at RiverStone Health. She can be reached at 651-6466 or Sara.Reh@riverstonehealth.org.

Copyright 2015 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More from the Gazette

Montana flu epidemic kills 9 in just over a month

Montana flu epidemic kills 9 in just over a month

21 hours agoLoading…
Coincidences lined up in woman's high-tech tumor treatment

Coincidences lined up in woman's high-tech tumor treatment

January 28, 2015 11:30 am Photos

Photos

Loading…

Red Cross names new state executive director

January 28, 2015 12:30 amLoading…

Health guide

January 28, 2015 12:00 amLoading…

Spare Change for Real Change grant recipients announced

January 27, 2015 6:00 pmLoading…
North Dakota woman rises above fat-shaming comments

North Dakota woman rises above fat-shaming comments

January 23, 2015 10:33 amLoading…

RiverStone offers support group for kids, teens

January 21, 2015 4:00 amLoading…
PLASTIC SURGERY: Boats and health care studies

PLASTIC SURGERY: Boats and health care studies

January 21, 2015 12:30 amLoading…
Improving the health of high-risk clients

Improving the health of high-risk clients

January 21, 2015 12:30 amLoading…
HEALTHY WEIGHT: Don't linger over past failures

HEALTHY WEIGHT: Don't linger over past failures

January 21, 2015 12:15 amLoading…

Science Expo workshop scheduled

January 14, 2015 12:00 amLoading…

St. Vincent's to hold free weight loss seminar

January 14, 2015 12:00 amLoading…
HEALTH MATTERS: Health insurance marketplace deadline approaches

HEALTH MATTERS: Health insurance marketplace deadline approaches

January 14, 2015 12:00 amLoading…
SHIP Q&A: How to enroll in Medicare Part B

SHIP Q&A: How to enroll in Medicare Part B

January 14, 2015 12:00 amLoading…
NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE: Headaches can be caused by neck pain

NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE: Headaches can be caused by neck pain

January 14, 2015 12:00 amLoading…

Follow The Billings Gazette

Popular Stories

Get weekly ads via e-mail

Featured Businesses