Cora DeWyre ‘21, Circulation Manager and Business/AD Manager
Teens in an age of technology are increasingly becoming disconnected from the real world more than ever, often disengaging from their community. A step back from our daily routines needs to occur, so societal changes can be looked at with a more critical lense. Without a face-to-face means of communication, basic life skills cannot be acquired.
Throughout my life, I have been able to gain useful life skills such as leadership, guidance roles, and the ability to interact with new people through the process of serving others. The foundation of building healthy communities is through volunteering. This is where people can work together to improve where they live. They meet new people, make new friends, and increase their social network when doing community service. Showing others how to work together and interacting with new faces also helps build communication skills. Learning how to hold a conversation or picking someone up when they are feeling down are ways that volunteering can cause these life skills to develop. When one shows compassion to those who are down on their luck, even by asking a local church leader where to set up, it’s just a small step in interacting with new social circles.
Volunteering time can help one gain learning experiences, and new ways of interaction. No matter who we help, or in what ways, we can always feel the appreciation being reciprocated. South Lyon English teacher Mr. Jeffery Prueter said, “Volunteering is good for both those we serve and those who serve.” Prueter expresses the belief that both counterparts are at advantage to this act of service.
The youth in our society and South Lyon community can especially be positively influenced by performing acts of service. By getting involved at a younger age, we can have more learning experiences and build meaningful life-long relationships. Having strong relationships increases our social networks for an overall sense of connection. We also become more mature, self-aware, culturally aware, and more empathetic to the plights of others, throughout these experiences helping others. The benefits of volunteering are everlasting.
The sense of appreciation derived from volunteering can result in a more positive mental state for teenagers as well. Spending time helping others can improve our emotional wellbeing and enrich our lives. According to the Mayo Clinic Health System, “Research has shown that volunteering leads to lower rates of depression.” In an era where teens are being diagnosed with depression and anxiety more than ever before, there needs to be a solution: volunteering can be one of the solutions. It is free of cost and a drug-free prescription to combat the feeling of hopelessness. Experiences can be used as motivation to want to make a difference in society. For the betterment of mental health, volunteering should be routinely practiced by everyone.
To experience the opportunities posed by community service, it is up to us to choose to push ourselves and get involved. By helping others, by getting involved in the community, and by changing someone else’s life, it is possible to make a difference. According to the website HelpGuide, volunteering provides a sense of self-confidence and self-purpose. Senior, Zach Kramer said, “Volunteering gives us the chance to be leaders and improve our community.” If we do something we love, and it makes us happy, then we can share that joy with others. Anyone can find a way to make it happen and be actively involved in helping others and the community, in order to reap a lifetime of benefits.
Everyone can implement these skills in their life, in order to broaden their spectrum of assistance. Some ways that the youth can be involved include the following: helping out at local senior centers, teaching a sport, joining a club, or even just going out into the community and exploring opportunities. Some clubs in our school include National Honor Society (NHS) and Key Club. Even easy tasks such as shoveling snow off of driveways or raking leaves in the fall season can help those in need of these services. Each individual skill is translatable to one’s life and future in the workplace. Using these skills that are learned through volunteering, can help an individual succeed in life and their profession in later years. The truth is that volunteering can make a lasting impact on anyone’s life. It is extremely important to give back to the community as well as to spend time helping others in need. It is especially important for the youth in our community because it makes a lasting impression on us and those that we help. It can help us meet new people, which is a great way to make friends and improve our communication skills, our ability to empathize with others, our capacity for kindness, and our strengths as a member of a team or community. Whoever the individual may be, we all have these opportunities waiting for us—but only if we are willing to get involved.