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Giving Back

What motivates teens to give back?


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Dosomething.org, one of the largest youth organizations for social change, polled more than 4,300 teens nationwide to get their take on what motivates them to volunteer. Turns out, as with most decisions teenagers make, the choice to volunteer is largely dependent on whether or not their peers partake. 

The survey found that over 70 percent of teens with friends who volunteer also participate, while only 41 percent of teens without volunteering friends give back. The atmosphere of the volunteer opportunity is a key factor, as well. Adolescents want volunteering to feel like a social event—They want to hang out with people their own age, they want to meet teens of the opposite gender and they want to have fun.

Although there were distinct variations between the underlying motivators of female and male volunteers—with the majority of females lending a hand in the hopes of making a positive difference and males signing up to pad their college applications—all were passionate about an issue. Animal welfare, hunger, homelessness, the environment and the economy topped the list.

According to the United States Department of Labor, 26 percent of New Jersey teens ages 16–19 volunteer.

Want your kid be a part of that statistic? Check out these volunteering resources and get started today:

  • dosomething.org: Join this organization’s 2.8 million members in tackling the social campaign of your choice
  • jerseycares.org: Choose a local non-profit organization to partner with to give back to local communities
  • teenlife.com: Browse this online directory featuring volunteer work options specifically geared towards middle and high school students
  • volunteermatch.org: Find volunteer opportunity listings from more than 99,000 non-profit organizations across the country
  • volunteernj.com: Locate non-profits with volunteer projects in Essex, Morris and Union counties
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