Promoting Youth's Participation in Volunteer Roles Helps Develop Career Skills
Its been my own experience that the work that I perform with community service and other forms of charitable organizations have helped me develop skills throughout my career, especially in the beginning (junior high school through college.) Giving back to the community was something that was instilled in me as a young boy, but the reality is that the effort of volunteering brings so much to the volunteer. Leadership, problem solving, team work, etc., all of these things are developed when working as a group to help contribute to a worthy cause.
Early on in junior highschool through college, I worked with formal charitable organizations (e.g., Key Club, Habitat for Humanity) that had specific service goals. They had very specific roles for people, and as I spent more time in those types of organizations, I developed the skills that enabled me to take my first leadership positions.
Later on, after college, I worked as a consultant. I worked on service oriented projects during that time, especially mentoring initatives matching consultants with school "buddies." Eventually I ran the program for my consulting firm, and later served on a board for the county.
After completing business school, I created a non-profit the intent of which was to help foster new non-profits (a catalyst of sorts.) This project led me to create a fundraising event, a theater benefit event that was planned for a lower Manhattan theater on Sept 24th, 2001. Needless to say, the events of 9/11 impacted the event. We went forward with the benefit, and ultimately was one of the first benefits to occur right after 9/11. The event was a success, has continued to this day and we raise 20 times the amount of money annually now that we did then. But most importantly, the skills, relationships, and reputation that I developed from that event have completely altered my life, leading to a whole range of projects that have led me into the current career I know have.
Volunteerism is really the basis for the success I have had in my career. And I think can be the basis for a great deal of development for youth.