Teen Volunteerism; Take Action, Make a Difference
“Ask not what your country can do for you , but ask what you can do for your country.” Recognize those words? They are still heard all across America today as a reference to volunteerism. These words were spoken by President John F. Kennedy in his inaugural address in January 1961 as he issued a call to action to his fellow Americans. In January 2009, newly elected President Barack Obama reprised the call to action with a similar request. His words were, “I will ask all Americans to make a renewed commitment to serving their community and their country. Between 2006 and 2008 the average national volunteer rate was 25.4% among all volunteers. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, teens were volunteering at twice the rate of adults in 2004 at nearly 55%. Notice anything about those numbers? They’ve dropped almost 30% since 2004. This means that volunteerism isn’t as popular as it was then. But now is the time we really need those teen and adult volunteers. As the great Muhammad Ali once said, “Service to others, is the rent you pay here for your room on Earth.” And he’s right. While we’re here on Earth, why not take the time to helpl others and make a difference in someone else’s life. Teen volunteering has a positive impact on the individual, benefits society and establishes a foundation for lifelong service. Young people who are exposed to volunteering as children are twice as likely to volunteer as adults. It is an opportunity to both give and receive. The reasons teens give most often for volunteering is that they believe they are helping others and it allows them to do something for causes they support and feel are important. Most teens reported that they first started volunteering in their schools or church simply because they were asked. When teens learn to serve others, they are empowered. They grow up knowing that they can make a difference in the world....
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