Top 6 facts about youth volunteers
02 May 2006
by Joanne Fritz

A national study in the United States, conducted by the Corporation for National and Community Service, with the US Census Bureau and Independent Sector, found the following facts about young volunteers:

1) Millions of Young People Volunteer
15.5 million youths between the ages of 12 and 18 contributed more than 1.3 billion hours of service during 2004.

2) Young People Volunteer More Than Adults
Young people volunteered at twice the rate of adults with 55 percent of young people volunteering, compared with only 29 percent of adults.

3) Volunteering Helps Young People Succeed
Youth who volunteer are less likely to engage in risky behaviour, are more likely to feel connected to their communities, and tend to do better in school.

4) Altruism Is the Driving Motivator
Youth who volunteer do so out of altruism, strongly agreeing with statements such as "I would like to help make the world a better place," and "It's important to do things for others." Only 5% of students became involved with volunteering through a school requirement.

5) Adult Role Models Are Crucial
A youth who has a parent who volunteers is nearly three times more likely to volunteer on a regular basis.

6) They Need Flexible Volunteer Opportunities
Thirty-nine percent of teenagers volunteer on a regular basis; 35% do so occasionally; and 27% are episodic volunteers.

(Joanne Fritz is a Guide on


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