To volunteer is to touch other’s lives. When you volunteer, your eyes are opened to a whole new world, a world of caring about others. In contrast, teenagers tend to have a habit of focusing on themselves. They can get very into a zone of thinking of me, me, me and how bad their life is, even when it couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Encouraging them to volunteer will help get them out of that mind-set and open their eyes to what others are going through. Being a volunteer encourages empathy as well as gives them an activity to do that you can feel good about. Rather than worrying over where they are and what they are doing, you will have peace of mind knowing they are in a specific place doing a good activity.
Doing for others makes a person feel good about themself and you want to teach your teenager that. Once they get a taste for being a volunteer they will probably fall in love with it.
What can your teenager do as a volunteer? Lots of things! They can work as a teen volunteer at a local hospital, volunteer at a nursing home or daycare center. They can serve in a soup kitchen or get involved with helping a local boy scout or girl scout troop. They can serve on the local fire department. Most fire departments have programs where teens can sign up to be junior volunteer firefighters.
Whatever choice they make as to where to volunteer, be sure to encourage their efforts and be interested in what they are doing there. Ask about their day when they spend it on their chosen volunteer option. You will enjoy seeing your sometimes or often sullen teenager becoming the sunny person you knew they could be.