If you think the state law means high school students are brow-beaten into volunteering, look again. A 2012 study of youth by DoSomething.org found that 63% of young volunteers did so with no requirement. In Snohomish County, where volunteering is required for graduation, fewer than one in five in the Teen Leadership Council program said they volunteered because of the school requirement. (See chart below, courtesy of United Way of Snohomish County.)
Volunteering as a youth affects important work-related and social outcomes by strengthening work values and the sense of importance of community involvement. It has also been shown that the best predictors of adult involvement were the subjects’ experiences in volunteering before the age of 18. Adults who were active in social justice issues tend to have participated in service projects as children and/or teenagers. To read more about this research, see:
Kirkpatrick Johnson, M., Beebe, T., Mortimer, Jl, and Snyder, M. “Volunteerism in Adolescence: A Process Perspective” Journal of Research on Adolescence, Volume 8, Issue 3, 1998, pages 309-332
Benson, P. L. & Roehlkepartain, E. C. (1993). Beyond Leaf Raking: Learning to Serve/Serving to Learn. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.
Download the Corporation for National and Community Services 2005 study on youth service: