4 Life-Changing Reasons to Get Your Kids Excited About High School Volunteering/Community Service
High school volunteering and community service have become activities that students are either required to perform at school or church or are looking to participate in to have their college applications stand out among their peers.
Both parents and kids ask themselves a few simple questions when prioritizing a student’s activity: Why do community service? Will it be useful for the future? Is it fun? Volunteer service in recent years has become much more than selling baked treats at a fundraising table during school lunch.
The Benefits of High School Volunteering & Community Service
Building communities at home and abroad
Many private schools and increasingly, public schools make volunteer service a requirement for graduation. With few options available to them, students often choose a project that requires the least amount of time and effort-- but it doesn’t have to be that way!
Many volunteer projects, particularly those benefiting a community in the developing world, offer students a chance to build community at home (working with a group to raise money for a cause) and then to travel to help implement the project in another country with the money they raised. Opportunities, like those offered by CHOICE Humanitarian’s Catalyst Program for High School Students, provide a holistic approach to volunteer service by linking fundraising with project development and community engagement.
Giving to those less fortunate
Volunteering as part of international development projects opens students’ eyes to communities in the developing world that are living in extreme poverty. CHOICE Volunteers spend a week or more living and working side by side with those living on less than $1.90 per day to develop sustainable family farms, access to clean water, or build educational facilities. During their week abroad, volunteers learn how they can make a significant contribution to the lives of the less fortunate while broadening their own worldview.
Gaining Team Building and Project Organization Skills
Volunteering provides an opportunity for teens to work as a team solving real-world problems. “We need to choose a community in need. We need to figure out how to raise $1,500 in four months to help build a new school in a poor mountain community. We need to get passports. Our group is traveling to Bolivia in June to help build the school!”
Working as a group, teenage volunteers learn valuable skills that will help them succeed in college and in the world after graduation.
- Collaboration: Where will they all agree to focus their volunteer efforts?
- Prioritization: Should they raise money through a big fundraising event or several smaller ones?
- Judgment: How much money should they try to raise to make a real impact?
- Negotiation: Figure out what will work for everybody, develop a plan and get the participants to buy into the project.
- At their destination, they will learn leadership and problem-solving skills.
- Adaptability: Working with the tools and technology on hand to complete their project.
- Cross-Cultural Communication: Collaborating with people who have a different language, culture, and way of doing things.
Seeing the World
Providing the opportunity to explore a new country and its culture in an authentic way is a gift that your student will treasure for the rest of their life. They will learn first-hand that they can do good in the world while having a fun and memorable experience.
CHOICE Humanitarian works to eliminate extreme poverty in Kenya, Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Nepal.
About CHOICE Humanitarian Expeditions
For one week, participants live in a rural community housed in a classroom, community center, or village home. As a group, they spend their days learning about extreme poverty at both a global and community level. They eat well and work hard. Participants support community-managed projects that span the construction of hospitals, classrooms, or stoves to trenching water systems or building school desks. They dance, they play, and together, with community members, they exchange ideas, cultural norms, and dreams about what it means to be global citizens.