The Benefits of Youth Volunteering

• Increases young people’s feelings of community connectedness, and reduces engagement in risky behavior.
• Contributes to higher reported levels of academic success, graduation rates, positive civic behavior, and self-esteem.
• Youth who participate in community service are 19% more likely to graduate than those who did not.
• Students who participated in service-learning were found to have scored higher than nonparticipating students, particularly in social studies, writing, and English/language arts.
• Volunteering at any age is associated with increased likelihood of finding employment. Among youth ages 16-24 (not in school, not working), studies showed an increased likelihood of 5%.
• Volunteering in one’s youth leads to a lifetime of service and philanthropy. Most adults involved in community service and/or philanthropy started as children.
• High-quality, well-design service-learning programs have been shown to engage or re-engage students, as they develop problem-solving skills, deepen academic engagement, enhance academic achievement, increase a student’s sense of personal commitment and social responsibility.

Volunteering provides an opportunity for all of us to learn more about ourselves and our community. For students and young adults, volunteering can also help you learn about different career paths that may interest you and can also help you develop useful skills.

Many volunteer opportunities offer youth a head start in their professional lives as employers seek out potential employees who demonstrate they are able to adapt to new environments and are willing to learn new skills.

Individual Benefits of Volunteering

• Discover new skills, talents and interests
• Building self-esteem through hands-on experience
• Job skill development: learn team-building, leadership and problem-solving
• Be a part of the “working world” and see how an organization works from the inside
• Networking!! Possible future employment and professional references

Community Benefits of Volunteering

• Work with others to accomplish change
• Improve the lives of others in your community
• Help create a sustainable, healthy community

We encourage students and young adults to reflect on their skills and interests with family, teachers and friends before choosing a volunteer opportunity. Learning how to identify the skills and benefits gained from volunteering will help young Albertans become aware of what they will gain from community engagement.

Getting Started

Looking for a volunteer opportunity is similar to the experience of looking for a paying job. Young people should be able to demonstrate a commitment to volunteering, and their goals must mirror those of the organization or agency.

Begin your search by reviewing our volunteer opportunities section for positions that may interest you. You can also do an online search for organizations that match your interests and values.

Ask yourself the following questions:

• Is the location of the opportunity easily accessible?
• Does it match my time availability?
• What will I learn from volunteering there?

Note: If you are choosing to volunteer as part of a school community involvement program, remember to always check with guidance counselors or school principals to verify eligible positions. The school may have deemed some activities ineligible for volunteer hours, so check with them first to ensure that your proposed activities will count.

Search Opportunities – You can search through the volunteer opportunities for current positions open to youth.