How to Get Youth Involved in Community Action
Youth involvement in community action is vital to ensure that future generations are invested in creating positive change in their local communities. It enables them to create a sense of ownership and responsibility, develop important skills (like self-esteem), make meaningful connections and gain valuable experience that can benefit them into adulthood.
Most of all, through involvement in activities, initiatives and activism, they develop a sense of youth empowerment, pride and investment in their community.
However, getting youth involved in community action can be challenging, especially when they are busy with school, work and other activities. Here are some ways to pique their interest.
Find a Cause That Resonates With Them
The first step to getting youth involved in community action is to find a cause that resonates with them. Middle and high schoolers are more likely to get involved when they feel passionate about a particular issue or cause. You can start by asking them about the issues that they care about and then finding ways to connect those issues to community action. For example, if they’re passionate about environmental issues, you can suggest volunteering for a local organization that works on environmental initiatives. Animals? Local pet shelters are always seeking volunteers.
Offer Opportunities for Leadership and Ownership
Today’s youth are more likely to get involved in community action when they feel that they have a role to play and that their contributions are valued. For instance, if a group of high school students decides to get involved in a community cleanup group, involving them in the planning or decision-making of events, and most importantly, recognizing and celebrating their contributions can help them feel more valued and respected, which can lead to greater commitment and motivation, instilling leadership skills they can bring with them into adulthood.
Utilize Social Media and Digital Platforms
It’s difficult to find young, ambitious volunteers if you can’t find them. Given their high engagement with social media and digital platforms, these tools can be used to encourage them to get involved in community-based activities and events. You can use social media to share information about community action initiatives, connect with young people who are interested in the cause, and offer opportunities to volunteer or participate in events. You can also host virtual events and meetings, making it easier for their participation even if they are unable to attend in person.
Create a Sense of Community
Young people are more likely to get involved in community action when they feel a sense of purposeful community and belonging. Offering opportunities for young people to connect with community members who share their interests, including hosting events and activities, offering mentorship opportunities, and providing opportunities for young people to collaborate, create a sense of community that cultivates the youth empowerment that builds character and maturity.
Provide Opportunities for Skill-Building and Personal Growth
Volunteer experience and community involvement are some of the most important parts of extracurricular activities in a teen’s life that can help them stand out to college admissions departments, plus build the leadership skills needed for their future career paths. Skill-building and personal growth are just two of the benefits they can obtain through involvement in community action initiatives that offer them the chance to develop new skills, gain experience and build their resume. This can include opportunities to develop leadership skills, public speaking and project management skills.
Enriching the Lives of Today’s Youth
When young people are allowed to make a difference, they can do great things. JP4 makes this our mission: by enriching the lives of youth in underserved communities through healthy activity, healthy meals and healthy relationships. How can your son or daughter get involved in the community through JP4? We offer both an after-school program called The Diamond Club and summer camps for all to attend.
All are welcome at JP4. Please contact us today; we’d love to hear from you.