Volunteer work can play an important role in shaping a teenager’s character. Your child can give back to their community, develop valuable skills, and gain a sense of purpose from volunteering. Here are four effective ways to encourage teens to volunteer and make a positive impact.

Identify Their Passions

Volunteer opportunities that align with your child’s passions will be more appealing and rewarding. If your teenager loves animals, consider opportunities at local animal shelters. If they’re passionate about the environment, look for tree-planting events or similar experiences.

One way to help your child find their passion is by supporting their explorations in school. Electives are a great way for your teen to develop their interests. From there, some light research can help you or your child find satisfying and effective volunteer work.

Make It a Social Experience

Another effective way to encourage teens to volunteer is to make the event a social experience. Teens can volunteer with friends or classmates for a fun bonding opportunity.

Being around people they’re comfortable with can make volunteering less intimidating. Look for group volunteer opportunities or suggest organizing a volunteer project so your teen can work with their circle of friends.

Highlight the Skills They’ll Develop

Volunteering strengthens valuable soft skills that can benefit your teen in their personal and academic lives. Emphasize the lifelong benefits of skills such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and leadership.

You can also highlight how volunteer experience can enhance their college applications and future job prospects. While volunteering is altruistic, it’s also an effective vehicle for personal growth. Explaining how much your teen will benefit from volunteering can be a powerful motivator.

Lead by Example

“Lead by example” is a powerful truth that parents and guardians should live by for their children. Actions speak louder than words—when you volunteer and share your experiences with your teen, you help them understand the value of pitching in.

Volunteering yourself can inspire your teen to pursue their passion. Discuss your volunteer activities and consider inviting them along.

Help your teen become interested in volunteering by identifying their passions, making it a social experience, emphasizing how they will benefit, and leading by example. These thoughtful actions will allow your child to develop their values and help others.