Teen volunteering – accidental inspiration

It’s early July and soon camp season will soon peak. By early August you may even witness a little camp fatigue, particularly among seasoned camp-goers. Developmentally, tweens and teens are ready to guide their own growth opportunities. They are restless, inspired, and have too much time on their hands. In other words they are the perfect volunteers. If your screen-sucking, channel-surfing adolescent doesn’t strike you as the next UNICEF ambassador, do not despair. Change-makers often discover themselves by accident at the cross-section of availability and opportunity.

One of our activity partners, Lion’s Heart, provides the volunteer and leadership training. Thrively has thousands of local volunteer opportunities. The inspiration takes care of itself, as many Lion’s Heart Members have discovered.

Here's what some of our teens think of Lion's Heart:

“Lion’s Heart differentiates itself because it is not an organization where your parents hold your hand. YOU as the teenager have the power. At the end of my freshman year of college, I helped co-found an organization called FrogSpeak, which is aimed to provide a network of support for students at TCU dealing with mental illness.”

-Darby C., Graduated Lion’s Heart Member and student at TCU

“After graduating from high school, I soon became extremely involved in volunteering at a medical clinic and helping the truly underserved people, something that was engrained in me after years of community service with Lion’s Heart. Volunteering in this clinic helped reveal my passion for medicine, which finally focused my studies onto pursuing a career as a Physician Assistant. I soon became president of the pre-physician assistant club at SDSU which opened multiple new doors for volunteering and becoming a leader in my community which allowed me to provide others with the same volunteering experiences that I had, all stemming from Lion’s Heart. These experiences gave me the opportunity to attend the Master’s of Physician Assistant Studies at the University of Southern California and allows me to continue to make huge differences in the underserved community, all while practicing my passion.”

-Brandon P., Graduated Lion’s Heart Member and USC graduate student

“Coming to UCSB the first thing I wanted to do was get involved. My freshmen year I joined Alpha Phi Sorority and was elected community service chair shortly after. I could not have taken a role like that my freshmen year of college without the skills I obtained in Lion's Heart. In my few short years in Lion's Heart, I learned valuable lessons such as knowing how to motivate others to become passionate about a cause, reaching out to community members, and planning events people want to attend. Those skills directly benefited me! I co-founded a cheerleading team for children with disabilities, and I also continued my involvement in Best Buddies organization, which I now am finishing up my 8th year. Lion's Heart was more than just a community service organization for students. It was a place where I learned to be a leader of my peers, where I learned what I was passionate about, and where I found the confidence and skills to go out in the world and help people.”

-Noelle B., Graduated Lion’s Heart Member and student UC Santa Barbara

“I have found that Lion's Heart has opened the door to incredible opportunities, that I may have not otherwise been prepared for or comfortable with. For example, this summer I will be in Kenya doing research with bean farmers to increase crop yields. My volunteer experience was definitely a factor in my selection and my willingness to engage in this project.”

-Carly E., Graduated Lion’s Heart Member and student at Cornell University

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