Inside Out 231: Teen Volunteerism

01.11.12 | Martha Manikas-Foster

January 12 marks the second anniversary of 7.0 magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti, leaving three million people in need of emergency aid. That earthquake, like the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, mobilized Americans to raise funds and work to help people they’d never met. 

Americans volunteer. Statistics tell us that in 2010-- the most recent year with completed figures--62.8 million adults volunteered through one organization or another---those figures don’t include the times you bought groceries for your home-bound neighbor or built a ramp for the elderly man at church. Among those who volunteer are teens---in fact, a higher percentage of teens volunteer now than did at the end of the 1980s.

I don’t have statistics to back this up, but my thought is that teen volunteering is key to overall volunteering. Volunteers don’t just spring out of nowhere when disaster strikes. Most volunteers, I think, grow gradually, helping out a neighbor weed his garden, then painting a room in a Habitat house and eventually taking a regular shift at the local food pantry.

On Inside Out today we have two guests—veteran volunteer 16 year-old Bethany Rudolph and her mother Bonita Coates. Bethany had logged volunteer hours with the Heifer Project and Habitat for Humanity before her first trip to Haiti in 2009. After the earthquake, she knew she needed to return.

Please join us for this conversation with Bethany and Bonita about the reasons and benefits of taking time to help others.  


Your Comments(please keep them on topic and polite)

on 01.16.12 nanncy commented

very cool




Inside Out airs Wednesdays at 12:20pm EST during the Family Life Noon Report.


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