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Youth “queue up” to Volunteer

Media Release 3 December 2012

Youth “queue up” to Volunteer

International Volunteer Day – 5 December

Young people are lining up to volunteer, with many frustrated by the lack of opportunity to do unpaid work.

There’s a waiting list for volunteer programmes where youths help with beach and park clean-ups, cook for a food bank and clean cages at the SPCA.

The enthusiasm from teens wanting to enlist at Volunteering Otago in Dunedin is mirrored around the country, according to landmark research released by Youthtown.

The inaugural Youthtown Voice of New Zealand online study of 800 young people aged 13 to 18 revealed many were already helping and volunteering, but more than a third (34 per cent) would like more opportunities to contribute.
13 per cent would like to help with animals, others are keen to fundraise for charities or help with environmental clean-ups (both 10 per cent), while 6 per cent would like to work with the elderly.

82 per cent of those surveyed by Youthtown say youth have a lot to offer the world, but only 51 per cent believe society agrees with that sentiment.

The results of the survey - which was conducted for Youthtown by Point Research - come in the lead up to International Volunteer Day on 5 December. Principal Researcher Alex Woodley says youth volunteers are an untapped resource.

“The Youthtown survey found young people are very keen to volunteer. They have lots of energy, but there are quite limited opportunities. We know that if young people volunteer in a meaningful way they’re much more likely to continue to volunteer and contribute as adults.” Ms Woodley said.

“Given that there are 60,000 births every year, if we could unleash even a third of them as volunteers in the community, imagine the kind of work that could happen. The potential is huge.”

Volunteering Otago Manager Anna Clere said the school holiday volunteering programme would be extended to try and meet demand.

“I think maybe youth are perceived as not being as helpful as they could be,” Mrs Clere said.

“They may not have the experience of an older person, but they do have a lot of enthusiasm and a great willingness to learn.’’


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