Teens Volunteering More Than Working

Teens Volunteering More Than Working
Today’s economic pain is being felt by more and more people. There are more people collecting unemployment, more families eligible for food stamps, and many more people emptying the shelves at food pantries across the country. This ever-increasing number of people in need burdens charitable organizations everywhere. But, there is more help today than ever before coming from a group that it was least expected it from: teenagers.

Yes, teenagers – the same population that has often been defined as selfish and lazy. World Vision, an international charitable organization that helps feed the starving and brings clean drinking water to the impoverished, sponsored a study that finds 69% of teens are more aware of the needs of others as a result of today’s troubling financial times. The study also finds that 56% of teens actively support charitable organizations by volunteering their time. In comparison, only 39% of teens hold part-time jobs.

Wow! These are some fantastic numbers. But, here’s an even more compelling result of this interesting survey – only 46% of adults surveyed indicated that they were active volunteers. So, not only do kids beat down the “selfish and lazy” stereotype, but they’ve also become reverse role models since these new numbers show that teens volunteer more than their own parents do.

Adults do contribute more dollars to charity, 77% as opposed to 26% of teens. But, in all honesty, do kids really have enough money to make financial donations? What is fascinating to me is that they have chosen to give their time, to give of themselves. To volunteer by stretching out one’s hand is more real, more satisfying, and more challenging than opening up one’s wallet.

World Vision, which has been developing its teen base of support for seventeen years, sponsored the survey to determine how today’s recession was affecting the attitudes of today’s teenagers. Nearly 500,000 teens across America will participate this year in World Vision’s 30-Hour Famine project to raise money and awareness about global hunger. Since teens have been engaged in this hunger awareness program, they have raised more than $120 million dollars. That’s a pretty amazing result, isn’t it?

What these results are saying is that charitable organizations would benefit greatly by reaching out to the young population. There are so many ways this can be done.

Why not host a teen volunteer day on a regular basis? Connect with the high schools, scout groups, religious groups and local media in your area to get the word out. Invite teens to come out on a special day when they can meet other kids their age while the whole group participates in a special volunteer project. Kids can stock food pantry shelves, make phone calls, or stuff letters. They can be of tremendous help planning an upcoming fundraising event, and can be particularly useful in recruiting other teens to get involved.

With or without these new results at our disposal, we should never dismiss teenagers and their ability to care for others and to make a tremendous difference.

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