Why involve youth in your volunteer program?
- Are you looking for enthusiastic, energetic, creative and talented new volunteer?
- Do you need help with new technology?
- Are you open to new ideas and change?
- Do you want to provide opportunities and mentorship that will help young people become engaged citizens and develop into future leaders?
- Can you provide a choice of volunteer positions and flexibility in scheduling?
- Is there a supportive and friendly environment for volunteers?
If you answered yes to these questions, then your organization is well on its way to developing volunteer positions for youth that will benefit both the organization and young volunteers.
Direct Quotes from Non-profit Organizations
Benefits for Organizations having Youth Volunteers
- It's good for the younger players to see those students taking an interest in their training.
- It allowed us to offer more programs with the extra help.
- The students are often energetic and creative, as well as eager to do well.
- It gets them involved in the community.
- Creates awareness about our organization among the younger community.
- They were very enthusiastic and interested in learning new skills.
- Gives student and youth perspective, which is overlooked a lot when only adults involved.
- Bring new ideas to the group and replenish membership.
- They were great mentors to our younger youth.
- It keeps us connected with the youth and the issues that are happening within our own area and city.
- Energy. Inspiration to older volunteers. A fresh voice and perspective.
- Youth learn about small communities and how volunteers run these communities.
- Enthusiasm, new ideas, training ground for the future coaches.
- Fresh ideas, eager to learn.
- Allow us to complete tasks that have been on the backburner.
- Allow us to create amazing events.
- The students relate very well with the small children. They provide hours of laughter and fun.
- They make everything more fun!
Advice to Organizations who Recruit Youth Volunteers
The following are quotes on advice for organizations who have youth volunteers:
- 5 Best Practices in Youth Engagement 1 - Foster Youth Leadership while providing supportive mentorship (balance) 2 - engage Youth Early in the process (ownership) 3 - Create an environment that encourages youth (allow for two or more youth to attend) 4 - Celebrate the Diversity and uniqueness in the youth perspective 5 - Research similar community initiatives involving youth i.e. FINALY!"
- Training and supervision with ongoing positive and corrective feedback are most important to ensuring a positive experience for both organization and student.
- Have specific plans that would best use youth energy, enthusiasm, contacts and visions; provide regular supervision, review, mentoring, training.
- Make sure you do not take the volunteers for granted and to involve them and show them appreciation. If your organization is not ready for a volunteer, wait; a bad experience for a youth as a volunteer can destroy a community oriented future adult.
- If you encourage and support these student volunteers they will continue to volunteer well into adulthood.
- They need mentoring and support and most of all encouragement, especially when they have done a good job!
- Find out what each likes and try to complement what you need them to do on a specific task. Loves praise.
- The students should always feel valued. Do what you can to encourage them and make them feel that their help is important to your organization.
- Just ensure that they understand their role(s)and give them an opportunity to offer suggestions.
- Be very patient!!!!
- Give them small jobs to do first and don't leave them on their own first.
- Give youth as much responsibility as you possibly can --- the rewards are amazing.
- Provide lots of information, be flexible, look at providing creative placements.
- Listen. They have great ideas.
- Help them to understand what it is all about.
- Are clear on what they are doing.
- A specific task with specific instructions.
- Meet with them before they start.
- Provide interesting programs, encouragement, appreciation and necessary support.
- Orientation and on-the-job training to all volunteers is very important.
- Have a clear job description and good training.
- You just need to be ready for them and have things organized and ready for them.
- Let the kids know the expectations.
- Challenges are discussed and worked out (feedback).