The kids from Generation Z are growing up to be self-obsessed creatures, much to the dismay of their parents. However, it is the same parents who taught them all they know - and teaching them to be better people starts right at home. While it is true to an extent that teens tend to neglect responsibilities for self-gratification, a large number of teens join community service programs during summer break, as well as during the academic year. But if your child isn't part of the volunteer club don't fret. Often parents struggle to find ways through which they can motivate teens to willingly take part in them.
Important as it is to get teenagers to spend a productive summer holiday, tempting teens to leave their inactive lives and volunteering in community service programs is hard for parents. Parents might give up on them but community service opportunities for teenagers have their share of plus points. Participating in a community service program helps teens to look beyond their own self while they deal with challenges and needs of others. They also get a sense of empowerment when they see that they can make a real difference in other people’s lives.
Keep their likes and dislikes in mind
Teenagers are more likely to participate in a community service program which they can relate to. For example, if their interest lies in animals, then community service at a veterinarian hospital or a homeless shelter for animals will seem more attractive than a program involving service at a local church. If parents are able to find a community service program that lies in their teen’s area of interest, the teen will not only be extending a helping hand towards their community but also strengthening their own knowledge within a field they like.
Practice what you preach
Encouraging teens to take part in a community service program while you sit back on the couch sipping lemonade might not be very effective. Teaching them that personal gratification is not the only thing that a person has to achieve in life will help them let go a little of the egocentric facet to their personality. A community service program that involves the whole family is not only going to help the teen, but also give the family a chance to spend some quality time together. Remember that the Generation Z problem isn't one they created, they learned all they know from parents!
Mental health and well-being
Participating in community service is going to be a boost to your teen’s mental health and well-being. It is going to develop positivity and a feeling of belonging and having a meaning to their life. It also induces a positive psychological development when teens realize that they have something to achieve even if they are part of a group. Another positive aspect of taking part in community service is the fact that others expect them to do something, change something, and be involved. This responsibility plays a very positive role.
Make sure that your teen knows about the advantages a community service program is going to bring with it. Apart from the great impression that a resume with service hours is going to give, community service is going to give their confidence a boost. Working with others is going to inculcate team spirit in the teen, developing interpersonal, communicational and managerial skills at the same time. Benefits of community service for teenagers are limitless in a way... from personal to professional growth!
Some places where teens can volunteer during summer vacations are animal shelters, senior residences, preschools, homeless shelters and hospitals.