The sponsor for our Schools & Youth program, GenerationOn, recently featured a blog written by one of our volunteers, Michael LaRue. Michael is a volunteer leader for the CHiL after-school program, assisting in the recruitment, training and management of over 40 volunteer tutor/mentors. Since last school year, Michael has served over 100 hours as a tutor and leader. Here is what he wrote for GenerationOn:
1) Let us know our boundaries: When you put teens in charge of something make sure you let them know their boundaries in the leadership. There have been many volunteer activities that I have participated in where I had no idea what I was suppose to do when it came to leadership. Whether it be overstepping my boundaries and giving instructions that the teen should not be giving. Or just standing there not knowing where to start because there have been people doing the jobs you thought were directed towards you.
2) Impact is most important to us! When thanking a Teen Volunteer know that most of us know we are doing a good job. If we weren’t happy with the progress or success of a program we wouldn’t be doing it. Therefore, if you’re going to thank us know that the only thanks we truly need is seeing the smile on the leader’s face or the smile of the people we’re serving (in my case the students I mentor).
3) Treat us with respect. Know that we are here to volunteer because we have passion for what we are volunteering for, As a teen leader I know that I don’t have full control and I would never expect that, what I do expect though is to be treated with respect for I am giving up time to help something that is important to me.
4) Don’t treat us like we are kids. We may not be adults, but we do have an idea of what is going on. Tell us what we need to do and allow us to ask for change in order to improve what needs to be done.
5) Don’t expect more out of teen volunteers than you expect out of yourself. We are a team; therefore we should be working together for a common goal, not separately.
GenerationOn, the youth division of Points of Light Institute, is the grant-lender for a youth service enterprise called Ready-Set-Go, which HandsOn Suburban Chicago is implementing in several Northwest Suburban schools. The program has helped to almost doubled the amount of direct service and leadership opportunities available for youth in the area.