I’m Bored..Not This Summer

   Written by on April 24, 2015 at 1:42 pm

The dogwoods are in bloom; a sign of spring and an indication that summer is just around the corner.  The big question is what is your teen doing this summer?

logo-gowin-cheryl-dennisWhen asked about their plans for summer break, teenagers at our practice gave answers which ranged from got no plans, playing video games, catching up on missed TV shows, to hanging out with friends.  Does this sound like your teen?  The risk, for these plans, is that just a few weeks into summer break your teen will start to complain about being bored.  Being bored, he/she may start to look in directions leading to negative activities.

You may feel comfortable with your teen having lots of free time; however, with a little planning, your teen could spend the summer on an activity that would provide a list of benefits.  The right summer activity will give your teen responsibility, guidance, and, most importantly, days filled with enjoyable activities.

Here is a Chinese proverb to share with your son or daughter as you discuss his/her plans for the summer.  If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap.  If you want happiness for a day, go fishing.  If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune.  If you want happiness for a lifetime, help someone else.

Volunteering has many benefits.  Besides teaching your teen the joy of giving to others, your teen will also gather volunteer hours for their college applications.  Many colleges require essays on outside activities such as volunteering; a strong record of volunteering can improve your teen’s chance of acceptance.

​Your teen may reap the benefits others gathered from volunteering; people, who volunteer, reported the following health benefits from their activities:

​25% of volunteers say it helped them manage their depression

76% of volunteers say that volunteering has made them feel healthier.

94% of volunteers say that volunteering improves their mood.

96% of volunteers say volunteering enriches their sense of purpose.

95% of volunteers say they are helping to make their community a better place. ​

​​​​​​​​80% of volunteers say they feel they have control over their mental health.

​78% of volunteers say that volunteering lowers their stress levels.

49% of volunteers say that volunteering has helped with their career market.

56% of volunteers say that starting to volunteer would help their career in the future.​

Fortunately, there is an abundance of possibilities and ways to plan a safe and educational summer of volunteering for your teenager.  Listed below are websites for organizations that have volunteer opportunities and websites that list volunteer opportunities.

VolunteerMatch (www.volunteermatch.org) is the Web’s largest volunteer engagement network supporting more than 80,000 nonprofits and lists 1,660 volunteer opportunities in Virginia.

Allforgood.org (www.allforgood.org) was created by Internet pioneer Craig Newmark, who saw the need for an online resource to help Americans easily find ways to serve.  The site’s search engine allows you to search within a mile range of a zip code.  I found 176 volunteer opportunities with 25 miles of Farmville.

VolunTEENnation.org (www.volunteennation.org) is a non-profit corporation formed to inspire, engage, and activate youth to get involved and volunteer in the community.

Nature Conservancy (www.nature.org/VolunteerVA) provides outdoor related volunteer opportunities, field trips, and special events throughout Virginia.

The Generator School Network (www.gsn.nylc.org) is an online community for fast and easy sharing related to service-learning projects.

Youth Service America (www.ysa.org) provides a list of volunteer projects for inspiration, best practices, and tips.

FACES (www.facesfoodpantry.com) is a Prince Edwards all-volunteer organization with volunteer opportunities on Thursdays and Saturdays.

 This is only a starting place.  Your teen should first decide what he/she would find interesting and then develop a volunteer plan.  No matter what your teen decides, we hope he/she has an interesting and fun summer.

And, if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in the darkness and your gloom will become like midday.  Isaiah 58:10

Cheryl Gowin and Dennis Gowin, Hope for Tomorrow Counseling Center.  Contact us with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions at 434-808-2637.  

About Cheryl & Dennis Gowin

Cheryl Gowin, Counselor and Dennis Gowin, Director of Discovery Counseling Center. Contact us with your feedback, comments, issues or questions at 434-808-2426 or dgowin@discoverycounseling.org.

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