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Volunteering – Developing Personality & Skills!

Volunteering - that sounds like do-gooders, financially stable families whose children are encouraged, through their parents, to give something back to society. In the wake of the ever-expanding egoism in our society and thus also in children and adolescents, a voluntary commitment is for many about as attractive as a visit to the dentist for root canal treatment.

What these people do not know: Volunteering doesn’t necessarily only benefit those who they help. A few years ago a published study by the Technical University Dortmund showed that the volunteers benefit themselves. In particular, children and young people can take a lot away from their volunteer work - for their own lives and their future development.

For the first time, a study proves the positive effects of volunteering empirically

In the study, scientists at the TU Dortmund conducted more than 70 interviews with dedicated youth and young adults who are active in youth associations, student councils and many other initiatives. The interviewed young people come from the federal states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria and Saxony. To make the study more meaningful an additional 1500 adults were interviewed who engaged in volunteer work during their youth. They also questioned about 500 other people did no such volunteering during their youth.

The study results are quite impressive: they show that voluntary work or volunteering during their youth has an extremely positive effect on the development of various skills, which play an important role in their future careers. - In terms of organizations and authority of committees, but also the general performance competence.

Especially in view of the subsequent ability to successfully work in a team, a volunteer activity proves to be an almost ideal preparation. The study has also shown that children and teenagers who get involved in volunteer work achieve later higher vocational qualifications and thus are professionally more satisfied. This was particularly evident with the 500 surveyed people who did not participate in any volunteer work during their youth. Among them were not even half as many with a university or college degree. Also, their career choice is visibly influenced by a voluntary commitment during their youth. Such dedicated people are much more likely to find their careers in the social welfare, and educational professions. You find them also much more often in the medical field.

Volunteering young adults grow in the same kind of adults

It is not surprising that their voluntary commitment does not stop with their youth but will continue into adulthood. More than 50 percent of the interviewed people, who already as teenagers took on volunteer work, are still engaged in charity work in adulthood, like in clubs, etc. You also find them more readily in social organisations, unions, community leadership and much more, then those who did not do charity work during their younger years.

And another effect was observed: Current or former charity workers are much more willing to donate than those without such a commitment. They donate more frequently and even larger sums.


It's nice when well-off young people want to give something back to the community from their wealth through their charity work. But that’s not all. In general, and in almost every human being, the development of their personality is positively influenced and therefore, it is recommendable to promote this voluntary work in young people. People who are actively volunteering during their youth have better job prospects, achieve higher levels of education and, ultimately, get higher salaries. They are socially set, donate more and profile themselves in charity work later in life. Therefore, it is necessary, that parents, children, and young people equally understand the benefits of volunteer work. That this engagement indeed evokes a win-win situation. It affects both positively; the society as well as the beneficiary.

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