Volunteer opportunities abound for today's teens


When attempting to gain acceptance to the college of their choice, teenagers quickly learn the admission requirements extend beyond their report cards. Colleges weigh academics considerably, but many institutions of higher learning also want well-rounded students who will make great additions to the community as well as the classroom.

One of the things admissions boards look for in an applicant is his or her track record of volunteering. Though students likely won't be denied admission if they have never volunteered, it never hurts to have volunteer work on a resume, and some students have even earned scholarship money thanks to their record of service.

Parents who want to help their child find the right volunteer opportunity should consider the child's hobbies and interests. Oftentimes, a child's favorite hobby matches up perfectly with a volunteer opportunity. When such a match is made, teenagers tend to look forward to their volunteer work and might even find a career path they'd like to follow.


The Athlete

Students who love sports are likely to discover a host of volunteer opportunities at their disposal. The Special Olympics (www.specialolympics.org) is a rewarding volunteer opportunity for adults and children alike. Relying heavily on volunteers, the Special Olympics needs volunteers to fill positions that include athlete escort, scorekeeper, cheerleader, and even fans. Events occur 365 days a year, ensuring there is a local opportunity for every teen regardless of how hectic his or her schedule might be.


The Traveler

Teenagers who love to travel can combine that passion with their desire to help the less fortunate. Many programs are designed for families who want to go on service-oriented vacations. For example, when signing up for such a program, a volunteer might visit a less fortunate country and help build and renovate existing structures. Global Citizens Network (www.globalcitizens.org) is one of many such programs, and families will work side-by-side with fellow volunteers as well members of the local community they're helping. Younger volunteers often find service-oriented vacations especially eye-opening, providing a different perspective of the world they might otherwise never be able to witness or understand.


The Teacher

Teenagers who enjoy teaching others might find a local coaching opportunity suits them best. Coaching doesn't have to be limited to sports, though grade-school aged children often look up to the local high school athletes and genuinely appreciate when such athletes take the time to work with them personally. Additional teaching-based volunteer opportunities include the local music program for the musically inclined teen or reading to younger kids through the local library's reading program.


The Builder

Some teenagers are naturally inclined to building, and they might even be off to engineering school once they earn their high school diplomas. Before applying to the school of their choice, teenagers with a more mechanical inclination might find a volunteering opportunity such as Habitat for Humanity(R) (www.habitat.org) is the perfect fit. No previous building experience is required, and volunteers both young and old often find their time erecting homes for the less fortunate among the most rewarding moments of their lives.

When attempting to find the right volunteering opportunity for their child, parents should consider their kids' favorite hobbies and then find a volunteering opportunity that enables them to combine that passion with their desire to help others.



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