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Ways to Grow Student Involvement in Community Service

In a society of me-centered attitudes, caring for others can be sparsely lacking. It remains a fact over the decades that only a small percentage of community members ever volunteer for public service. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2011, 26% of the population volunteers for an organization at least once a year.

Of 16 to 24 year olds, only 22% volunteer. This is the lowest response rate of all volunteering ages recorded. How can we blame young adults for not helping others when the entire population doesn't set a good example? The solution is more volunteering of all ages to help give students role models to emulate. Wouldn't it be mind-changing to treat community service like a privilege and less as a punishment to be avoided?

Here are ideas on how to get your student out helping in your local (or national) community:

1. Volunteer as a parent to set a good example
2. Volunteer as a parent-student team
3. Join a charity or on-going volunteer group
4. Suggest a group he's already apart of volunteering
5. Schedule time for your student to volunteer
6. Vary type and length of volunteering

Often volunteering is a reflection of a strong emotional connection to a cause that's personally affected an individual. Find what your student is passionate about first; without a driving focus, his enthusiasm to help will quickly fade. Life changing experiences such as exposure to those less fortunate or presenting a dire need can spark an emotional response. The deeper your student feels the need, the more likely he will act to better the world around him.

National and international volunteer groups to check out:

Peace Corps
Volunteers of America
Red Cross

Don't forget local organizations, religious affiliations, and community outreach too! Disease prevention or cures, natural disasters, and volunteer vacations abroad or in the U.S. are also opportunities to help. Need is everywhere, so help your student find his place in helping improve the world. Let's get that 22% up higher.

 Do you or your student volunteer? Why or why not?
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