Tuesday, July 17, 2007

YOUTH VOLUNTEERING- an emerging trend.
Volunteering is giving your time, energy and experience to help others and to contribute to the well being of an individual or community without expecting a reward or monetary gain. In recent years, a number of opportunities have emerged that required young people to volunteer. Such volunteering program range from peer-to-peer education/mentoring to religious programs, organising sport events to initiating community service projects, local involvement to global involvement in different organisations.
Active youths identify volunteering as a way to learn work skills, establish employable experience and channel their drive and unique enthusiasm towards community service and bring about a profound change. Volunteering has also been linked to skill development which increases self awareness and self esteem among youths.
There are presently a growing number of young people who are actually involved in local volunteering. These young people are driven by a genuine passion to do something about the state of the world for good. However, there are also others who face barriers that prevent or discourage them from getting involved. These includes, lack of motivation, lack of opportunities and information and most obviously, lack of time, many young people hardly have time due to school.
But there are equally more benefits than barriers in volunteering, such as, it provides youths with concrete real life experience to complement class room learning. It also builds one’s resume/portfolio and connects one to his community, reducing isolation. It broadens your horizon and challenges your social norms, giving you an active critical thinking and problem solving skills to deal with real life concerns.
Before you volunteer, you must ensure that the opportunity relate to your interest and skill, it is flexible and fun, it gives room for you to learn new things, make new friends and most importantly, make a difference for good.
Although we have a rich volunteering culture in Nigeria, we do not have a structural youth volunteering program yet. There are however, limitless opportunities in local organisations, online, internationally that have youth friendly vision and room for youth volunteers. So make research, find them and get involved, or better still, start by joining a local youth group and grow from there! I volunteer because, like the art of writing, it is also a challenging but enjoyable art of taking action and expressing myself positively!

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