Investing in Youth

By Zara Pandite, Project Intern

As an intern for Chatham Habitat for Humanity, my role is to develop and implement the Youth Volunteer Program. My hope is to inspire and energize younger generations to become involved in the work of Habitat, with projects that nurture a sense of teamwork and community involvement.

Since youth under the age of 16 aren’t allowed to work on a Habitat build site, I’ve been developing fun projects and events so youth between the ages of 8 and 16 can get involved.

Why should someone in that age group consider volunteering?  There are several benefits to be gained by immersing oneself in community service activities:

  1. Youth volunteers learn about the world and the problems people face, and thus are able to work with people with varied backgrounds and points of view;
  2. Volunteering increases one’s emotional intelligence, also referred to as emotional quotient, which is the ability to manage emotions and relationships; and
  3. Youth volunteers can gain a sense of fulfillment from helping others.

One of the ways youth can volunteer is by helping in our ReStores. Doing so helps to teach responsibility and organizational skills. Recently, I met a 9-year-old boy who was volunteering in the ReStore with me. His family had instilled in him a love for volunteering and helping others. Through his volunteering experiences, his parents had nurtured in him a sense of responsibility and fostered a drive in him to set goals and achieve them. Involving youth in community service activities motivates them to make the world a stronger and safer place for everyone. In addition, such activities encourage youth to influence people around them to do the same.

While volunteering teaches youth certain skills and instills in them essential values, nonprofit organizations also depend on youth. After all, they are our future. Children of such ages bring a youthful enthusiasm and different perspectives to organizations like Chatham Habitat for Humanity. In addition, such volunteers often identify and develop new ways of serving the community and children who are less fortunate.

I want people to know that regardless of your age, you can make a difference in your community and the world around you.

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We love having interns at Chatham Habitat for Humanity! Project Interns like Zara choose a specific area of Chatham Habitat and help us develop a sustainable program. Click here to find out more about our internship opportunities.

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