Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

How Available Are Volunteer Opportunities for High School Students?

Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

How Available Are Volunteer Opportunities for High School Students?

Article excerpt

Abstract

Volunteering has many benefits and may be linked to career choice and employment. The participant (N = 96) school counselors indicated a general availability of volunteering opportunities in direct service (99 per cent), fundraising (87.5 per cent), leadership (57.3 per cent), and secretarial or maintenance (77.1 per cent). The top three preferred volunteer activities in descending order are: tutoring (direct service), helping with fund drives (fundraising), running errands (secretarial/maintenance). SES influences the number of students active in volunteering. Implications and limitations of and directions for future research are provided.

Volunteering is a component of service learning, or work without pay, intended to foster active citizenship (Parker & Franco, 1999). Active citizenship can be further dissected as political (i.e., electoral participation and political voice) or civic engagement (Keeter, Zukin, Andolina, & Jenkins, 2002). Electoral participation includes activities such as volunteering for a political party, campaigning, and voting, whereas political voice includes activities such as writing letters to legislators, writing letters to media, or protesting (Keeter et al., 2002). Civic participation includes the activities of fundraising, volunteering in church and community organizations, clean up (Keeter et al., 2002). While most (Keeter et al., 2002; Owen, 2000; Tossutti, 2003) are focused on youth volunteering for its relationship to civic and political engagement as adults, some (Reich, 2006) are interested in volunteering for pure service, for relief to the needy. The link of volunteering to active citizenship has fuelled the historical debate concerning whether or not youth volunteering should be mandated or voluntary; a debate that continues today both locally (Bullock, 1996; Planty, Bozick, & Régnier, 2006) and internationally (Henderson, Brown, Pancer, & Ellis-Hale, 2007; Tossutti, 2003). In the United States, the DotNet generation, or the group of people between ages 15-25, had the highest rate of volunteering (Keeter et al., 2002). Among this generation, 54 per cent of high school students volunteered due to either encouragement or requirement by the high school (Keeter et al., 2002). Youth volunteering increases the likelihood of volunteering as an adult (Johnson et al., 1998; Youniss et al., 1997).

Volunteering has many direct benefits for youth volunteers and may increase the likelihood of career choice and employment. Some of these benefits include: high self esteem (Johnson, Beebe, Mortimer, & Snyder, 1998; Moore & Allen, 1996; Zoerink, Magafas, & Pawelko, 1997); lower degree of problem behaviors in schools (Eccles & Barber, 1999; Moore & Allen, 1996; Youniss, McLellan, & Yates, 1997; 1999; Zoerink et al., 1997); better academic performance (Eccles & Barber, 1999; Johnson et al., 1998; Moore & Allen, 1996; Parker & Franco, 1999; Youniss et al., 1999; Zoerink et al., 1997), later college attendance (Eccles & Barber, 1999); stronger sense of community (Johnson et al., 1998; Parker & Franco, 1999; Youniss et al., 1997); community connectedness (or networking opportunity) and social integration (Clary, Snyder, Stukas, 1998); and overall enhancement of the identity formation process (Yates & Youniss, 1996). More recently, volunteering has been proposed as a tool to reduce high school dropout rates (Bridgeland, Dilulio & Morrison, 2006). Volunteering has also been linked with higher levels of moral traits in adolescents (Reimer, DeWitt Goudelock, & Walker, 2009), and development of several Eriksonian Ego strengths (Markstrom, Li, Blackshire, Wilfong, 2005). These ego strengths associated with volunteering included care, competence, hope, fidelity, purpose, will, and wisdom Markstrom et al., 2005).

Volunteering's strongest benefit may be career choice and employment opportunities for youth. …

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