Teen-Friendly Volunteer Projects for the Summer

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” — Mahatma Gandhi

Poolside lounging, backyard barbecues, beach vacations – three summertime staples that spark joy in almost all of our hearts. But the summer season wasn’t made just for rest and relaxation; the midyear sunshine is also perfect for philanthropy. Though many working adults don’t have the luxury of enjoying the same extended break their school-aged children have, luckily, philanthropy is an equal opportunity activity. When it comes to volunteering, the summer offers endless possibility and plenty of free time to pursue. Here are three teen-friendly volunteer projects for the summer.

1. Building
For those who don’t mind getting their hands dirty, why not dive into a building project? Charities like Habitat for Humanity and The Fuller Center for Housing build homes for people in need, while organizations like Bikes for Goodness Sake build bikes for underprivileged children. If your teenager’s heart lies in education, plenty of nonprofits like BuildOn Global dedicate their volunteer hours to constructing schools for underserved communities.

If building houses and schools requires too much physical exertion, think outside-of-the-box and create your own nonprofit or charity. The business can be as small and short-term as a weekend lemonade stand, or as complex and long-term as an online boutique of handmade crafts. Once the profits start rolling in, take the proceeds and donate them to a worthy cause.

2. Cleanup
Many of the spaces we occupy and enjoy require tedious, behind-the-scenes work to keep clean. However, the bright sunshine of summer provides the perfect motivation to lend a helping hand. Commit to sprucing up the neighborhood. Gather a group of friends and create a gameplan to clean up one (or a few) of the following spaces:

  • The Beach
  • A Heavily Littered Street
  • An Elder’s House or Yard
  • A Local Park
  • Your Neighborhood Common Areas

3. Social
Get social! For all the extroverts and social butterflies, your time and attention can prove to be a priceless gift. Help your fellow man by participating in a bit of good ol’ fashioned, face-to-face interaction. Consider visiting a rest home, hospital or hospice center and sharing your company. Enroll as a Big Brother or Sister (if you are over the age of eighteen) or offer your literary expertise to a summer reading program at your nearest library, bookstore or daycare.

“It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.” — Tom Brokaw

Although the free time that accompanies summer break is traditionally consumed by self-serving pursuits, what better time to do more than is required? There are millions of causes, both locally and globally, waiting for the attention and action of a future philanthropist. You are never too young to make a difference. The leaders of tomorrow start by creating change today. So, this summer, encourage the teens in your life to get out of the house, take advantage of the sunshine and make a real-world impact through volunteerism.   

Brad and Julie DuncanTeen-Friendly Volunteer Projects for the Summer
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Three Ways To Appreciate A Good Leader

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent
in others belong to us as well.” – Voltaire

Most of the time, we do not have the liberty or convenience to choose our bosses. And as sad as it may sound, it seems like great leaders are hard to come by these days. Some superiors can be too tough, which can command obedience but also instills fear. Some are too lenient, which can establish rapport, but then breed underachiever. The search for a good leader can be frustrating, so to realize you are under the wing of someone with commendable management skills can feel like winning a lottery. With all the amazing things good leadership brings, the least you can do is show your appreciation. The following are a few ways to show your dream boss how grateful you are to be under their mentorship:

Do more than required.
For a boss, to see his or her staff religiously doing their duties is already an achievement. But if you wish to further give your leader a reason to do better, you may want to show more effort in the work you do. Going above and beyond will show leaders that the people they manage are worth the effort. Aside from  encouraging leaders to keep doing their job well, you are also empowering the whole team. Choosing excellence over mediocrity surely makes the job of a leader easier. In the end, the ultimate person who benefits from your actions is you.

Organize an appreciation day.
What can you do to increase the tribe of good leaders? Organizing an appreciation day can go a long way. This will be helpful because a leader needs a dose of encouragement and motivation to stay competent as well. It can be as simple as throwing a surprise party or get-together. Team members can do something special, such as prepare the leader’s favorite dish or buy a gift the leader always wanted. It is also a great idea to give thank you messages.

Offer a solution.
Leaders have huge responsibilities on their shoulders, so it is a requirement to be disciplined and persevering. Aside from ensuring the smooth flow in a group, leaders are also tasked with solving any problem a team may encounter. With all the hard work involved, one of the best things a team member can do is ease some of the burdens a leader has to face. Aside from making sure that you do not create any trouble for the leader, you can also think of ways to make things easier for the whole team. If the team has an existing dilemma or problem, you can suggest ways to overcome or solve it. By doing this, your boss will truly be thankful to have you in the team.

To be under a great leader is a wonderful privilege because you will gain valuable skills and at the same time, discover your potential. You can expect an excellent leader to push you to be better, inspire you to grow and achieve more than you think you are capable of.  So, if you know a great leader, do the world a favor by finding ways to express just how much you value their presence.

Brad and Julie DuncanThree Ways To Appreciate A Good Leader
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