The Perks of Volunteering for Teenagers


Akshaya Jambunath

Volunteering can be as simple as making a thank-you card or helping a fellow student with their homework. As easy as it seems, these tiny actions can go a long way. Teens often have opportunities to do their part in serving the community through community service projects and volunteering. Maysoon Khan, an active volunteer herself, explains how volunteering is a great way to “enhance social skills, foster a sense of community, and make connections with other interesting people.”

Many students report that when thinking about volunteering prospects they often worry that they won’t be able to balance it with their academic schedules. However, Khan thinks it’s entirely possible. “It may be difficult at first, but with the right schedule and setting apart time for certain things, you can even find time for your social life,” she said. 

Lisa Maylott, an English teacher, said ”[to] look for something that is of interest to you.” She describes the different options students have, such as arranging food drives, picking up trash, and helping out with clothing drives. “There are many different volunteering opportunities out there, [so] you can definitely find one that fits your schedule,” she said. 

For people interested in volunteering within school grounds, school clubs are a great place to start. Khan recommends looking into the Red Cross Club, an active volunteer club in Briar Woods that is an extension of the local Red Cross unit. She said it’s a great way to “acquire valuable knowledge about how to operate reliably with people from a variety of backgrounds, effect meaningful change, and gain leadership positions.”

Students who are unable to commit to school clubs because of their extracurricular schedules can always look for opportunities outside of Briar Woods High School. Austin Ferraro, one of the members of the Brambleton Library teen center, talked about the opportunities the Brambleton Library offers for aspiring teen volunteers. “Our in-person volunteers, for the most part, help out with our programs which vary by month,” he said. Some programs that volunteers have helped with in the past include Spy Games, Teens DIY Drop-In activities, and Game Night. He also talked about how they offer online volunteer opportunities in the form of book reviews. “We give 30 minutes of volunteer credit per book review. Teens can submit up to 10 reviews per volunteer session,” he said. 

Collecting volunteer hours is also a great way to make a good impression on college applications. A good amount of volunteer hours would help showcase the student’s drive to helping their community. “The optimal number of volunteer hours is between 50 and 200 hours,” Khan said, in regards to college applications. But she quickly added that the quantity of the volunteer hours should not be students’ aim when they are serving their community. She instead tells students to focus on the quality part of the volunteering, for it will make the time spent volunteering, “much more enjoyable.”

Maylott has similar thoughts on the topic. “It’s not something that you can expect any kind of a reward for as far as money or things like that. It has to be something you have a desire to help with,” she said. She believes that it can be something that is very self-rewarding to students if they are able to put their heart to it, instead of focusing on the material value they have to gain from it. “This is something that is very self-driven, and you need that kind of drive, that internal quality, in order to volunteer.”

Khan also believes that something else students should consider before they start volunteering is their objective. She urges teens to think about how much they are willing to commit to, and what they hope to gain from the experience. “Knowing your specific goals can assist you in selecting a volunteer opportunity,” Khan said. 

Volunteering can have several benefits, both internal and external. Not only can it make teens feel better about themselves, giving them a feeling of accomplishment, it also helps the people around them. “There are so many different options you can think about for the future, and you don’t know how it can affect you later on. So if you’re ever considering it, just go for it!” Maylott said.