Getting Your Teens to Volunteer

Over 100 million Americans are expected to serve their communities in honor of 9/11 this year. It’s hard to believe the many teens of today have little personal recollection of the significance of the events that transpired ten years ago. Sometimes it’s challenging to get teens motivated to volunteer among their other activities. If a sense of fulfillment and psychological benefits of philanthropy aren’t enough motivation for your teen, try the financial approach. More and more organizations are giving away scholarships and prize money to outstanding teen volunteers. Here are a few to investigate.

Heroes of the Heart
After being thrown from a horse and becoming a quadriplegic in 1995, Christopher Reeve founded the Christopher Reeve foundation and with it a yearly scholarship award. The scholarship is given to a student—nominated by a non-family member—who has shown strength, courage and compassion while serving his or her community.

The recipient of The Heroes of the Heart Christopher Reeve Award earns $1 thousand to be used for post secondary education.

Kohl’s Cares
Kohl’s rewards over two thousand kids whose volunteer efforts led them to create a project that had strong positive impact on their community. The project must have occurred within the last year.

Each level earns a prize—store winners receive a gift certificate to Kohl’s, regional winners are awarded a $1 thousand scholarship for college and national winners are awarded a $10 thousand scholarship for their post-secondary education and Kohl’s donates $1 thousand to a non-profit of the national Kohl’s Cares Scholarship winner’s choice.

Prudential Spirit
One of the largest scholarship awards program in the United States is the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Middle school and high school students are recognized for their outstanding volunteer efforts, and students who win at a national level receive a $5 thousand prize and an additional $5 thousand will be donated to the nonprofit organization of the winner’s choice.

Whether your teens are getting financial assistance for college from you, working their way through college or taking out a student loan, any amount of additional money toward a post-secondary education is useful.

Regardless of whether there is financial gain, you should encourage your teens to volunteer, find their passion, create a service project or get involved in a cause. In the end, you’ll help your teen and give the gift of the volunteer spirit that has made America so strong to its next generation.