Guest Blog: Youth + Volunteerism = Community Pride

We all know the positive effects that volunteerism has on our youth. There are trends of improved academics, leadership skills, and a decrease of teen pregnancy and drug abuse (just to name a few). You can find some pretty impressive statistics that show a high percentage of youth that volunteer to help raise awareness, fight hunger and homelessness and fundraise for different organizations. The common theme I see in these statistics is that very few of the volunteer efforts are giving back to their local community or neighborhoods.

When I do a Google search for youth volunteer opportunities in the St. Louis area, the results are targeted toward teens (age 13+), benefit national/local organizations or general causes (hunger relief).  I am NOT saying that these organizations and causes are not important or worthy of help from volunteers.  After all, I am developing my own non-profit organization that will run on volunteers.  I would just like to see more youth volunteer opportunities that directly serve the local businesses, organizations, churches and schools in my neighborhood and community.

I envision a beautiful relationship between St. Louis youth and local businesses working together to foster community pride and develop social responsibility in our youth.  I am starting a new non-profit organization that builds off the belief that people are generally proud of the things they help to create.  If our youth are more involved in building and developing the neighborhoods they live in, they will most likely be more proud of the community they are a part of.

There is a lot of untapped potential in our youth and I am on a mission to help kids realize the impact they have on their community.  My organization will offer programs that will strengthen kids’ skills and abilities and partner them with local businesses/organizations/churches/schools to help with improvement projects, fundraising, or whatever is needed.  The programs will have a “Life skills 101” feel and include Financial Literacy, CPR training, Healthy Cooking/Meal Prep (kitchen/food safety), Diversity & Inclusion, Conflict Resolution, etc.

So, what makes St. Louis Strong?  Our youth. I am committed to finding more ways for our youth to get involved in their community, learn social responsibility and want to be advocates for social change. I believe everyone can benefit from increased youth volunteerism on a local level.

Can your community benefit from more youth involvement? I want to know your thoughts! I would also greatly appreciate your participation in a short survey to assist in my market data research.