Volunteering benefits psychological wellbeing in two ways: by improving psychological resources, such as self esteem and self-efficacy, and by improving social resources and skills(Musick & Wilson, 2003). Volunteering will also benefit adolescents as they take on new social roles and combat emotional challenges(Kim & Morgul, 2017). It may also improve their civic engagement(Kim & Morgul, 2017). Youth who participate in frequent voluntary service report lower levels of depression and may be more likely to volunteer as adults. The social skills gained through volunteering can help students succeed in educational and occupational pursuits (Kim and Morgul, 2017).
|Grade Level:||6th - 12th|
|Materials:||List of volunteer opportunities for students|
Does it work?
A study involving one hundred 10th graders from an urban public high school in Canada analyzed the effects of volunteering on cardiovascular disease. All participants completed assessments about their cardiovascular health and psychosocial wellbeing prior to volunteering and after 10 weeks. For this study, students volunteered in an after school program at a nearby elementary school for at least one hour a week. Activities included, “homework club, sports programs, science, cooking, cards and games, and arts and crafts” (Schreier, Schonert-Reichl & Chen, 2013, p.328). Results of this study indicate that, in addition to reducing negative emotions, volunteering can, “change risk markers for cardiovascular disease” (Schreier, Schonert-Reichl & Chen, 2013, p.330). The greater a participant’s reported increase in empathy and altruistic behavior, the greater reported cardiovascular benefits.
Hamilton and Fenzel (1988) studied 84 adolescents (ages 11-17) who participated in different volunteer projects through community service organizations and afterschool programs. Following the completion of the program, participants expressed more positive attitudes regarding social responsibility and the desire to help those in need. Students also shared that the volunteer experiences allowed them to learn more about others in their communities. Nearly all participants reported that they enjoyed the activities and would volunteer again in the future (Hamilton & Fenzel, 1988).
De Guzman, M.R.T. (2007). Youth volunteerism. University of Nebraska NEB Guide. https://edtechbooks.org/-cMIw
Hamilton, S.F. & Fenzel, L.M. (1988) The impact of volunteer experience on adolescent social development: Evidence of program effects. Journal of Adolescent Research, 3(1), 65-80. https://edtechbooks.org/-kBDE
Kim, J. & Morgul, K. (2017) Long-term consequences of youth volunteering: Voluntary versus involuntary service. Social Science Research, 67, 160-175. https://edtechbooks.org/-jNS
Musick M.A. & Wilson J. (2003) Volunteering and depression: the role of psychological and social resources in different age groups. Social Science & Medicine, 56(2), 259–269. https://edtechbooks.org/-MLXR
Schreier, H. M., Schonert-Reichl, K. A., & Chen, E. (2013). Effect of volunteering on risk factors for cardiovascular disease in adolescents. JAMA Pediatrics, 167(4), 327-332. https://edtechbooks.org/-UZj
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