Did you know youth make up a quarter of the world’s population today and that is the highest percentage in recorded history? The youth we mean people between the ages of 15 and 24 years old. Our youth represent an extremely valuable resource. Equipped already with energy, good will and creativity they are the key to our future.

Volunteering and helping others can be very fulfilling if we show our children from a young age how enriching it can be, they will start to see a connection between helping someone else and their own happiness. Current statistics suggest that youth from a family where at least one parent volunteers is almost twice as likely to volunteer and nearly three times as likely to volunteer on a regular basis. If you currently volunteer have you considered having your kids join you?

Claire, Brodrick and their parents (pictured below) have been volunteering with Adopt-A-Family for a number of years. Claire’s mom says;  

"Over the years, my daughter and I have spent hours 'Adopt-a-Family' shopping together. Before heading out, we preview flyers, look for sales, and find the best deals. We love the challenge of making our family's budget go as far as we can."

"This shopping time has become an annual tradition for our family. Over the years, I have seen Claire's shopping perspective change. When she was younger, she would often point out items that she would like and start making her own list. As she has matured, she has become more focused on the families and their needs. Through this experience, we have shared special time together and Claire has also gained an understanding of budgeting and prioritizing. As we shop, we often refer to the children on the list as 'our family' and we consider how they might react when they receive these gifts.  I feel so fortunate to have witnessed my daughter's empathy for others develop."

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Teen volunteering has risen steadily since the 1980s. Research has shown that teens who engage in community service are more responsible and have higher self-esteem and resilience. Volunteering helps teens gain new skills necessary for the job market such as leadership, communication skills, dependability, time management, and decision making. Teens who volunteer perform better at school and also build a stronger resumé for college and scholarship applications.

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 Heres what we know about local youth involved in volunteerism:

  • In general, younger Canadians are more likely to volunteer than older Canadians.
  • Youth from higher income families volunteer more than those from lower-income families (70% vs 44%). The study suggests that kids from lower income families are simply not asked as often to volunteer and that they would be more interested in helping their immediate communities.
  • Youth who volunteer are happier, they scored 24 percent higher on a life satisfaction scale.
  • Teens are three times more likely to say that a bad experience had prevented them from doing more volunteer work.

Heres why our youth volunteer:

  • 42 percentof young volunteers got involved because their friends were involved.
  • Teens love to socialize, so like to volunteer with their peers or friends and have fun while volunteering.
  • Teens and college or university students use volunteering to add sparkle to their resumés. Volunteering can make one job candidate stand out from the competition.
  • Volunteering provides an opportunity to learn skills youth will need in the future. 

Hannah has been volunteering for several years and here's what she thinks:

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"Volunteering is important because it gives me the chance to give back to my community and to help those who may be less fortunate.  It makes me feel good and it makes me feel like my time matters. I think about how many people I  can help and that builds my character, and helps build new relationships."