Career Learning for Adult Self-Sufficiency (CLASS)

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Volunteering: Helping Yourself and Your Community

In 2013, the Bureau of Labor Statistics issued an Economic News Release entitled “Volunteering in the United States – 2012.”  It provided a statistical look at volunteering and the characteristics of volunteers.  Would you have guessed that approximately 64.5 million people in the United States volunteered through or for an organization at least once in 2012?   Slightly less than 9 million 16 to 24 year old youth and young adults participated in some type of volunteer activity.  Volunteer rates were lowest among 20- to 24-year-olds (18.9 percent).  Teens (16- to 19-year-olds) had a volunteer rate of 27.4 percent.  The main volunteer activities performed included collecting, preparing, distributing, or serving food, and fundraising.  To view the full news release, visit: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/volun.nr0.htm.   

The Corporation for National and Community Service recently released “Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment Report” which provides evidence of a relationship between volunteering and finding employment.  Key findings identified in the report include:

  • Volunteers have a 27 percent higher likelihood of finding a job after being out of work than non-volunteers
  • Volunteers without a high school diploma have a 51 percent higher likelihood of finding employment
  • Volunteers living in rural areas have a 55 percent higher likelihood of finding employment

In addition to positive relationship between volunteering and finding employment, there are other benefits including: 

  1. Connecting people to new friends and contacts and increasing social and relationship skills;
  2. people increase their confidence, and physical health;
  3. Providing career experience and teaching valuable job skills; and
  4. Bringing fun and fulfillment to people’s lives by providing opportunities to explore interests and passions. 

Some helpful resources to find out how to get involved with a volunteer organization and identify possible volunteer opportunities include: 

We would like to get your input on community service ideas that others may find useful. 

What community service activities do you engage in?

What community service activities do your participants enjoy the most?

How do you get young people motivated or engaged in community service activities?

How often do you inform your young people of community service opportunities?

Do you explain the benefits that young people can gain from participating in volunteer activities?

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