There is a lot to be said for college scholarships that are merit-based. By rewarding both good grades and volunteer service, the concept of volunteering or service learning could teach our community how to produce educated, engaged citizens who know how to give back.
Today local governments and non-profits face the challenge of providing more services with fewer resources. Student volunteers bring energy and enthusiasm to the mission of any non-profit organization. And some of these young people will come up with innovative solutions to community problems.
Research shows that service requirements benefit students in a host of welcome ways:
• Students who participate in community service are 25 percent more likely to graduate from college.
• Students who volunteer just one hour a week are 50 percent less likely to abuse drugs, alcohol or cigarettes.
Youth who serve develop social and civic responsibility and are more likely to:
• Become lifelong volunteers
• Participate as active citizens
In addition service learning (volunteering) motivates students to achieve and helps them develop leadership skills and self-confidence. Students find mentors or career interests, encounter new worlds, enhance their resumes making them more attractive to potential employers and resulting in improved chances of being accepted into the most competitive colleges.
Go to www.youthvolunteerorganization.org for more information on youth volunteer opportunities5