Teenagers and Community Service: A Guide to the Issues

Teenagers and Community Service: A Guide to the Issues

Teenagers and Community Service: A Guide to the Issues

Teenagers and Community Service: A Guide to the Issues

Excerpt

Community service is increasingly recognized by psychologists, educators, human service professionals, and policy leaders as an important vehicle for promoting positive development among teenagers. Engagement in community service provides youth with opportunities to connect with caring adults and peers in making a difference in their communities. Through community service, teenagers can develop personal, social, civic, and academic skills. Through interaction with persons of different age groups, races, and cultures, they can gain understanding of persons who are different from themselves and gain skills for effective communication. By working alongside adults in different service activities, young people can be exposed to different career opportunities and develop sound work habits. Service-learning has grown as a method of educational reform that links academic learning with the solution of real-life problems in the community. As a result of the contributions teenagers make to the community, adults can gain a greater appreciation of youth as community assets. All community members can potentially benefit from the results of community service initiatives.

The knowledge base concerning community service and service-learning has grown exponentially in recent years, as has the number of organizations, programs, and available resources that support community service. These programs and organizations have grown both on the national and local levels. According to recent polls, however, many Americans do not know what service-learning is or understand the benefits of commu-

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