Staples must provide accessible volunteer opportunities for teenage growth, academic success

Volunteers+of+all+ages+can+help+out+at+the+Norwalk+Police+Department+annual+coat+drive%2C+%E2%80%9CKeeping+Norwalk+Warm.%E2%80%9D+The+event+provides+coats+and+outerwear+for+families+who+may+not+be+able+to+provide+these+items+for+themselves+or+their+families.+

Lauren Hassell ’22

Volunteers of all ages can help out at the Norwalk Police Department annual coat drive, “Keeping Norwalk Warm.” The event provides coats and outerwear for families who may not be able to provide these items for themselves or their families.

Lauren Hassell ’22, Staff Writer

Teenagers are selfish creatures. Volunteerism may not be the first thought that comes to mind when they think about extracurricular activities. However, it should be an important part of a teenager’s life for two reasons: boosting mental health and helping to secure a spot in competitive universities. Therefore, Staples should provide volunteering opportunities for students.

With steps such as offering buses to volunteering locations, Staples can benefit the mental health of students. Volunteering gives students a sense of purpose and increases self-confidence while also growing an individual’s social network and creating new, meaningful connections, according to “Volunteering and its Surprising Benefits” by HelpGuide.

With the evident positive impacts of volunteering, colleges and universities consider community service as an important factor to a student’s application. According to survey results of 264 admissions officers at U.S. colleges from Niche, “58% of admissions officers agreed that community service has a positive impact on a student’s acceptance to their college or university.” Volunteerism can, therefore, be a determining factor of students’ application. By making volunteering more accessible, Staples will give students an advantage when applying to colleges or universities and establish a well-rounded community as a result.

While there are existing options for volunteering in Westport, most organizations limit the amount of students that can participate. I am a part of the Westport Chapter of the National Charity League. While the organization is a great opportunity to engage in community service, it is an all girls association and each grade can only have 25 members, according to the “Westport Index.” The Staples Service League of Boys is another accessible option to Westport citizens; however, it is an all-boys organization that has a cap of 275, according to the “Membership” page. Builders Beyond Borders also includes community service opportunities but a member has to raise a considerable amount of money to go on trips, ranging from $3,100 to $3,250, according to the “Student / Parent Overview.”

To make volunteering more inclusive, Staples should create a schedule for volunteering opportunities and provide transportation to and from, with no gender or age requirements, and no cap on the number of students who can take part.