Teenagers nowadays are always busy with school, sports, and other extracurricular activities. So why do students risk being overwhelmed or falling behind by adding a job or volunteering on top of that? According to Movingworlds.org, volunteering can make students happier, which is very important in teenagers’ lives.

Volunteering is a great way for students to get involved in their community, make new connections, build social skills, and experience new things, all while giving back. It can have great benefits for the students, as many post-secondary schools and jobs look for things a student might do outside of school. In order to graduate high school, students need 30 work or volunteer hours. Beside these 30 hours, many Riverside students also need the extra hours for specific classes, such as Athletic Leadership, Leadership, and the Best Buddies program.

There are many ways to volunteer around Port Coquitlam. Kalen Zhou is a grade 11 Riverside student and an experienced volunteer. “There were quite a few steps to becoming a volunteer. I had to get a criminal record check, do an orientation, and an interview, but in the end, it was worth it. I love seeing the kids interact with each other, and it’s really cool to know that I am helping out my community,” Zhou said. Some of Zhou’s volunteer jobs include helping with children’s camps, special events, and helping at the Coquitlam Public Library. Other ways teenagers can volunteer are by joining Green Shirts, a club run by Riverside teacher Ms. Chapell, which offers students many volunteering opportunities that can be done for the school or community.

In high school, many students also lean towards getting a job, as they become less and less dependent on their parents and want to make their own money. Although minimum-wage jobs, such as fast-food and retail are a typical way to go, there are a variety of better options that are available to students. Where they could make more money, gain unique experiences, and look better on resumes. Hailey Smith, a Riverside student, has a unique job as an art teacher for kids. “I wanted to focus more on the field that I want to go into…; I love teaching as well, so when I got this job it was perfect for me. Being around kids is always inspiring for me, getting to see what they are doing…, and being able to teach them my own techniques is like taking initiative for other people’s art as well as my own,” said Smith.

Another option could be working for the city, with jobs such as lifeguarding, kids camp leader, and a skate instructor. The interview process and requirements for these jobs may be a lot more complex than a minimum wage job, but a job with the city would benefit students more in the long run.

Besides doing the essential hours for high school, volunteer opportunities and jobs are very important for a teenagers’ life to shape them into who they will become in life, helping them find their passions.

Photos courtesy of: