We’re back with “How Volunteering Gives Adults Meaningful Relationships!”

Birth to 12 | In the first section on ages birth to twelve, we discussed how having a child dependent on you in any capacity while volunteering can bring happiness, humility, acceptance, and a sense of purpose to your life.

Ages 13-18 | In this section, we discuss how interacting with children, ages thirteen to eighteen, can develop unique and mutually beneficial relationships in your life.

Think of the average teenager in America.  Many of them are in a school of some kind throughout the duration of their teenage years, and, towards the end of their teens, they may enroll in college, take a gap year, or start working full or part time.  All of these scenarios point to one large idea, however.  Children, ages 13-18, are, for the most part, being educated during this time in their lives.

Many teenagers find these years to be amazing, awkward, fun, exhausting, inspirational, or some combination of those.  They learn not only about various subject matters for school, but they also learn about themselves on a whole new level.  Trying to figure out who you are and where you fit in is an incredibly difficult task.  When you think about these concepts and even remember your own teenage years, you can see that, as an adult, their strengths and weaknesses need adults’ support to truly flourish.  You can encourage them, offer them advice, or even be a shoulder to cry on when they need it.  You can truly help them even simply by being in their presence so they can look up to you.  Regardless of the amount of time you spend with them, you can in some way or another help them trek through the murky landscape that is the teenage life.

If you could go back and tell your teenage self all the wisdom you picked up along the way up until now, what would you say? We all know, unfortunately, that time travel doesn’t exist.  So, instead of regretting some of the mistakes you made or the heartache you endured, why not take the time to tell other people who are teens now what you wish someone would have told you when you were younger?

Think of all the people who made profound impacts on your life when you were a teen.  Didn’t most of those people care for you in some capacity and give their time to you? Of course they did.  And, you can do the very same for the current world’s teenage population now through meeting them as a fellow volunteer.

If you want to take the time to volunteer for teens, sign up to volunteer for an organization like big brother or big sister, where you can mentor them as they grow.

If you want to volunteer with teens, take the time to volunteer with organizations that are conducive to people of all ages.  Lead the teens you meet by example.  Show them, through your continued actions, what it looks to truly care for others.  Focus on sharing compassion, integrity, and hard work.  You could even take a teenager you already know and volunteer with them at an organization like Habitat for Humanity on one of their house build projects.  Maybe you could bring a teen to a nursing home and comfort the elderly together.  Regardless of how you volunteer with teens, show them what it’s like to be a truly helpful, kind, and all around good person.

These positive experiences you share with teenagers will be pivotal in their lives. Volunteering for teens or volunteering with teens will help them to feel:

  • Loved and encouraged by someone they can come to respect and admire,
  • Believed in by someone they can grow to trust, and
  • A solid sense of purpose and identity.

All teenagers need to be able to feel these three things to mature in a healthy way. The added benefit here is that in providing this encouragement to teenagers, you will grow more patient, empathetic, inclusive, and wise in your perspective of the world and others.

Come back soon for the next part of this blog series, called “How Volunteering Gives Adults Meaningful Relationships with Ages 19-25!”