While my kids are not teens yet I really wanted to attend this event in Boston – Teen Life LIVE! The Fifth Annual Community Service Fair & Expo took place at the Chestnut Hill Mall on Sunday. In case you haven’t heard of TeenLife.com it is the “go to” online destination for students, parents and educators nationwide who are seeking programs, products and services geared to college-bound teens, aged 13-19.
The event featured over 50 Boston area non-profits that engage teen volunteers. I thought it would be interesting to see all the different organizations there and to find out a bit more about volunteerism.
I brought my 10 year old and her friend and while they were a bit young to really engage, I was glad as a parent that I took the time to see all the different opportunities that are available to students when they reach that critical age. WE have to be prepared! Studies have shown that teens who volunteer gain benefits ranging from increased self-esteem to acquiring valuable job skills.
We certainly did not have this event when I was young and I think it opens up many doors for kids to think beyond their world. Volunteer opportunities for students under 18 can be limited, and students, educators and parents often struggle to find meaningful opportunities that match students’ schedules and interests. This was one place where parents, kids as well as educators could gather information, sign up for information and really learn about the types of opportunities that would be a fit. Plus volunteering at an organization can really help a student decide if that is what interests them.
The free event connected more than 1,200+ students, parents, and teachers with 50 local non-profits in and around Boston that specifically engage teen volunteers. In addition to the goodie bag we received a printed copy of the 2012 TeenLife Guide to Community Service in Boston.
Some of the non-profits at this year’s fair included ABCD Career Explorations, The American Red Cross of Massachusetts Bay, Boston Cares, Challenge Unlimited, Cradles to Crayons, the DeCordova Museum, DoSomething.org, Families for Depression Awareness, The Food Project, Hale Reservation, Heifer International, Horizons for Homeless Children, New England Aquarium, National Alliance on Mental Illness of Massachusetts, New England Baptist Hospital, Boys & Girls Club of Greater Boston, Reach Beyond Domestic Violence, People Making a Difference, Princeton Prize in Race Relations, Roots & Shoots, Samaritans, Tenacity, and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay.
If you haven’t heard of all that TeenLife has to offer go to their web site where you can receive announcements about all of TeenLife’s guides, bi-monthly e-newsletters, and calendar events relevant to a particular region. They really can help families and schools to connect middle and high school students with all sorts of meaningful opportunities, such as summer programs, community service, after school and weekend activities, and gap year programs.