Teens volunteer for many reasons. They want to make a difference, to develop new skills, to explore careers, to have fun and to feel good about themselves.

Here are tips to make volunteering more successful:

  1. Stay flexible. The first place your teen volunteers may not be a perfect fit—but every experience can teach her something.
  2. Be persistent. Your teen may need to make more than one call before making a connection.
  3. Take training classes. Many organizations that use volunteers offer training. These classes can make your teen’s volunteer experience much richer.
  4. Be responsible. If your teen says she’s going to be at the homeless shelter at 6:00, she can’t suddenly change her mind and go to the movies with her friends.
  5. Don’t expect to start at the top. Volunteers often do jobs that don’t seem very exciting. But these jobs can lead to other responsibilities.

One supervisor said she asked volunteers to staple papers early in their volunteer experience. If they read as they stapled and asked questions later, she knew they’d be able to handle more responsible tasks.

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