Youth Engagement as Volunteers

Freechild Project youth and adults working together in Seattle

Volunteering happens when anyone gives their time to a cause they believe in. Without getting paid, engaging youth as volunteers can use natural talents, develop skills, share knowledge, and gain experience. They can also experience the joy that can come from making a real difference to other people’s lives, as well as their own.

You’re never too young to change the world! 

Freechild Institute motto

Ways Youth Engagement in Volunteering Happens

 Youth-Led Organizations — When young people take initiative, identify resources, and secure support to create the organizations, programs and activities they want and need to make the world a better place, they are changing the world. Youth-led organizations can address any issue, take any action and rally any people to transform society, change attitudes, and move culture forward.

Youth as Project Leaders — Focusing on specific projects and activities, young people can recruit, train, facilitate, evaluate, advocate and recreate the things they want and need to do throughout communities.

Student-Driven Service Learning — Using volunteerism to meet real classroom learning goals, student-driven service learning can transform schools and communities. Young people can learn and engage others in action in order to change society, while enforcing, reinforcing or gaining new knowledge about dozens of subjects in schools.

Needs for Youth Engagement in Volunteering

Training — Learning what actions, ideas and reflections matter in volunteerism can enrich young peoples’ experiences in social change. Children and youth can be trained in skills like creative problem solving, building consensus, and navigating disagreements. Training can also help build knowledge, like project planning, resource acquisition, grantwriting and more.

Inspiration — Becoming inspired to take action and improve their lives and the lives of others can be essential to young people. With stories and examples from their friends and peers, children and youth can feel compelled to make a difference in the world around them.

Credit — Acknowledgment can be quickly given when people are older, but when they are younger its hard sought. Giving children and youth credit for volunteering can take a lot of forms, from simple verbal acknowledgment to classroom credit. Its essential for adults to let young people are making a difference, and that parents, teachers, counselors, elected officials and others see that difference.

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Other tools are out there, too – share your thoughts in the comments below! For more information about how Freechild Institute can support youth + social change through youth volunteering in your community or organization, contact us.

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