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Volunteering: It’s good for way more than your student’s college application.

by | Oct 16, 2017 | Children, Community, Education, Huffington Post, Parenting, Students, volunteer | 0 comments

Volunteering: It’s good for way more than your student’s college application.

“I am so glad I am here,” the teenage girl next to me says as she heaves clunky binders and packs of notebook paper into marked boxes. We are in the back of a box truck on a warm summer day in the south. A cool breeze blows my hair into the sweat droplets on my face as I hand her additional supplies to sort from a shopping cart.

“This is so much better than staying at home. At home I would have nothing to do,” she explains. We are sorting through school supplies that have been donated by the community to help local students who are unable to afford to buy their own supplies for the new school year.  After this we will bring them to the social workers who will distribute them to needy students by visiting local motels and letting families “shop” for free before school begins.

We have done this event for over five years now. Some students come back year after year to help. And each year, I am always so thankful for our student volunteers and the perspectives they bring. Surprisingly, they are usually pretty happy to be volunteering.

“Why?” You might ask. I think it is because volunteering provides an opportunity for kids to participate in something bigger than themselves. This is often a refreshing change and a new experience for teens who grow up in a culture that is often very focused on the self. In addition to providing the opportunity to participate in a project that benefits others, community service offers some major benefits for teen (and adult) volunteers:

Improved Health and Longer Life

A review of the research, demonstrates that volunteering is good for both physical and mental health. In fact, people who volunteer on a regular basis experience about a 20 percent reduction in mortality. Volunteering increases social contact, gets people out of their houses, involves them in the community, and gives them a sense of purpose. This in turn, decreases loneliness, which can have a huge impact on health since social isolation has been linked to high blood pressure, strokes, dementia, and heart attacks. Keeping our kids active and involved is important to their overall health and also beneficial to their mental health. Volunteer work is just one way to accomplish this.

Volunteering and the Happiness Effect

Helping others is not just beneficial to those being helped; it has a positive effect on the person who is doing the helping. It turns out that doing good makes people feel good. Volunteers who participated in at least an hour (but not more than 10 hours) of volunteer work per month experienced increased well-being, life satisfaction, and reduced levels of depression. Parents often worry about teens’ mental health but don’t know what to do to help. Volunteer work can help young people to feel less isolated and a part of something larger than themselves.

Enhanced Balance and Lower Stress

Although many of us have the desire to volunteer with our kids or to have our kids volunteer, we often do not because we are just so busy. We worry about scheduling the time to do good among many other commitments that we hold for work and family duties and the various activities that our kids participate in. We think, “Won’t it just cause more stress” or “That would be nice, but who really has the time”?

It turns out you will, but only if you volunteer. Counterintuitively, it seems that people who work and also volunteer are happier overall with their work-life balance, regardless of the amount of free time they actually have. In addition, they tend to feel less stress and job-related burnout. It seems that the act of giving your time away is actually more beneficial than even spending it on yourself, in that it makes you feel happier and gives you the sense that you have more time to work with.

Decreased Substance Abuse and Destructive Behavior

According to the U.S. National Survey on Drug Use and Health, young adults ages 18 to 25 report the highest rates of substance use and dependence. However, it has been found that engaging young people in prosocial behaviors, such as volunteer work, makes them less likely to engage in these risky behaviors. When adolescents and young adults participate in positive structured programs that promote doing good and helping others, it also benefits them by aiding in their moral development. We all want to raise kids who are kind, helpful, and considerate. It turns out that the development of these prosocial traits may also protect them from engaging in extreme risk-taking behavior.

Learn Life Skills and Work Ethic

Volunteering can be an important way for kids and teens to learn new skills, be exposed to new perspectives, and explore interests, while engaging with the community. Much like a job, volunteer work can teach young people about interacting with others, punctuality, reliability, responsibility, and task-completion. Through service work, even children too young to get a traditional job, can become problem-solvers and feel that they are able to make a contribution to the well-being of their community.This taps into critical thinking skills that are often underutilized in traditional school settings.

 

The benefits of having kids volunteer are many; not to mention that volunteer work is often a key component of a successful college application. But have you ever wondered why this is? Experiences as a child, including volunteer work, have an effect on the life-long values and sense of purpose that a person has as an adult. In addition, children who volunteer are more likely to become adults who are active in their community. Colleges are looking for individuals with something unique to contribute who have moved beyond focusing exclusively on themselves to demonstrate a willingness to serve the greater good.

 

-Nina Parrish, M.Ed.
Owner | Parrish Learning Zone, LLC

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                                       ~Nina

Nina Parrish, M. Ed.

Nina Parrish, M. Ed.

Co-Owner and Director of Education

Proud mom of two adorable girls. Teacher who has developed an education business that started at a kitchen table and has grown into a thriving small business... Click here to Learn more about Nina.

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Pam Cantrell Burton
Pam Cantrell Burton
2020-10-14T16:15:51+0000
Parrish Learning Zone helped my daughter with on-line SAT and college essay preparation. She not only scored in the top 90 percentile on the SAT after working with Lauren Cannavo, she especially benefited from the tutoring she received for her admission essays. My daughter was accepted at Notre Dame, UVA, William and Mary, and received scholarships to George Washington University and the University of Alabama. She was initially deferred at the University of Chicago and waitlisted at University of Michigan and Emory University. She eventually chose not to remain on the waitlists and committed to UVA.Lauren also advised our daughter regarding her submission of a 20 page essay on community service for DECA, a high school business club. Our daughter, along with her partner, won second place in her category at the DECA state competitions in 2019 and 2020, and received second place at the DECA international competition in 2019.Lauren was not only a top-notch professional, she really cared about our daughter and was so pleased about her accomplishments. We are so very grateful to her and Parrish Learning Zone.
Marijayne Kruus
Marijayne Kruus
2020-05-11T21:51:37+0000
My daughter has a math learning disability and hated math. We started working with Nina Parrish and stuck with it for several months. Her grades have improved, but more importantly, so has her self confidence. She now loves going to work on math and will even work on it at home by herself. We are grateful for Parrish Learning Zone!
Laura Ellis
Laura Ellis
2018-12-14T14:36:43+0000
Mr. Chaves is an extremely gifted chemistry teacher. It's such a difficult subject--my son was drowning by the time we found PLZ. This was truly a last ditch effort on our part. Mr. Chaves was able to turn that ship around after only 4 lessons and my son passed the SOL! He was able to distill difficult concepts in a way that made them comprehensible and he was patient and kind and gave my son the confidence to succeed. His actual eacher expressed surprise and made a point of telling him he didn't know how he did it but he was impressed. It takes a gifted teacher to get results like that.I only wish we'd found PLZ and Mr. Chaves in the beginning of the school year.
Wendy Zelazny
Wendy Zelazny
2018-06-08T02:05:15+0000
Highly Recommend
Anne Kater Reeves
Anne Kater Reeves
2018-06-07T22:46:05+0000
I highly recommend Parrish Learning Zone. My daughter was able to achieve the SAT score she was aiming for with the help of her Math (Mr. James Slane) and English (Mrs. Lauren Cannavo) tutors. Not only did they help her with practice tests but they also boosted her confidence in taking the SAT. The owners (Nina and Jay) were always prompt in answering my emails. They are very accommodating and worked around my daughter’s schedule (thank you Shiela for all your help in finding available dates for my daughter to meet with her tutors). Thank you Parrish Learning Zone for helping my daughter achieve her goal!
Beth Yankovich
Beth Yankovich
2018-03-23T20:29:18+0000
I can't say enough good things about Parrish Learning Zone. My son has historically suffered from low reading comprehension. I felt he needed a little extra help so I contacted Parrish Learning Zone. The owners at Parrish matched my son with the perfect tutor for him, they developed a rapport almost immediately. He is now in 8th grade and doing well in all his classes. My son is very active in school sports and the staff at Parrish are always very accommodating. They always reschedule with no problems. My son even likes to go early to chat with Sheila.
Beth Kent
Beth Kent
2017-11-08T18:59:11+0000
Awesome! Very structured and student focused - they identified the areas of weakness and turned those into areas of strength in a very short amount of time. I loved the communication from the tutor and the company. I received a specific report of my child's tutoring session including improvements and areas that needed continued work. I received reminders of upcoming tutor sessions - which I needed!! I felt the individual attention and service was worth every penny AND found the prices to be much more reasonable that other tutors in the area. I would HIGHLY recommend Parrish Learning Zone to any parent that needs to find highly competent tutoring help for their child. Parrish is simply the best!
Michele Hiltbrunner Freemyers
Michele Hiltbrunner Freemyers
2017-03-14T15:53:50+0000
An excellent place to take your kids for any tutoring needs! PLZ is a very personalized and hands on service! Both of my teenage boys have been through here for various reasons and I know we will continue to make use of them!
Tammy Elms Mosco
Tammy Elms Mosco
2016-06-02T12:20:59+0000
SAT Prep Course with Parish Learning is definitely a worthwhile invest !!...My son's scores improved over 200 plus points!!
Janice Boles
Janice Boles
2014-12-02T22:34:32+0000
I am extremely thankful to Parrish Learning Zone. I have a son that is a freshman in college majoring in mechanical engineering. I am so glad that we found out about the Parrish Learning Zone because they were very caring and really worked hard around my sons high school football schedule to ensure that he received all of the needed instruction in order to do well on the SAT testing. It was a great investment for his future. I believe this experience prepared my son for the transition to college life. He was able to attend a top engineering college and to play football there. My daughter is a senior in high school now and was admitted into two of the top ranked public schools in Virginia. She will be a freshman at one of these schools next year. She also was enrolled in the Parrish Learning Zone for preparation for the SAT. I am again thankful to the Parrish Learning Zone and feel that this was a great long term investment into their futures. I would strongly recommend the Parrish Learning Zone to anyone looking for an environment that offers a caring and knowledgeable approach to educating students. They are the best.
Angela Jackson
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Andrew Powers
2014-02-09T12:32:29+0000

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