I pulled up to a red light and on the corner a man stood holding a ragged cardboard sign that read, “Poor, please help.” My daughter sat beside me and looked at the man. “Mom, I feel really bad for him,” she said as she reached into my purse and pulled out a bill. “Give this to him, please.” I looked into her eyes and saw compassion and a commitment to help someone in need. After giving the man the money, I noticed my daughter beamed with happiness, because she had made a difference in someone’s life.
When we help others we feel happy. There appears to be a direct correlation with overall well-being and giving our time, money or other resources to a cause that we are passionate about. Studies suggest that people who volunteer report better health and more happiness than people who do not volunteer. According to a study in Social Science & Medicine, a person who volunteers more than monthly, but less than weekly is 12% more likely to report being very happy and a person who volunteers weekly is 16% more likely to report being very happy. Volunteering weekly is like moving from an income of less than $20,000 to an income between $75,000 and $100,000! So, there are definitely some perks to helping others. With all of these benefits, it’s important to get youth involved in making a difference at an early age.
10 Ways to Help Others:
Hold the door open for others. Not only does holding open a door say “I notice you,” but it also says “I care enough to stop what I am doing to help.”
So, there you have it, 10 wonderful ways teens can contribute and serve their community. Small gestures and random acts of kindness really do make a difference.
Borgonovi, F. (2008). Doing well by doing good. The relationship between formal volunteering and self-reported health and happiness. Social Science & Medicine, 66, 2321-2334.