Volunteering Has Lost Its Purpose

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the U.S., the majority of
volunteers are people from ages 16-19, and the number of volunteers
in that age category are still rising. Although more teenagers are volunteering,
not all of them are necessarily volunteering for the “right reasons.” This
means that a lot teenagers volunteer because they are able to benefit their own
lives by earning scholarships and boosting their college applications. But since
volunteers are doing this, the organization or community does not benefit.
According to the Forte Foundation, volunteering in the U.S. was originally
meant for people who wanted to defend or help their nation without pay—now,
that has changed completely. Recently, volunteering has been more popular
among teenagers who want to boost their college applications or because a
certain program requires them to do so. A major reason why teenage volunteering
has shown a boost in popularity in the past few years is because colleges
started showing an interest in students who volunteer and because they want to
earn awards in order to receive scholarships. For example, many volunteering
clubs on any school campus are now promoting themselves by saying, “Join
because you get volunteer hours, and it looks good on college applications.”
This defeats the main purpose of volunteering since volunteers are essentially
getting paid through receiving scholarships, awards, or college acceptances.
Most teenagers are now volunteering to look good on college applications
or to get certain awards, and the community is not necessarily benefiting.
This is because the volunteers do not really try hard or give their best shot
at doing their job. They usually slack off, and instead of benefiting, they
are hurting the cause by doing certain things incorrectly or incompletely.
In order for the community to truly benefit, volunteers have to mentally
and emotionally be involved, not just participate so that they get a few
more volunteer hours. Some may believe that the increase in volunteers, no
matter their intentions, still benefits the community. Even though many
might believe that the job is still getting done since there are many more
volunteers, higher quality work would be accomplished if all volunteers were
people who are mentally and emotionally committed. More people does
not always mean that it is better, since it is better to have a smaller group
of volunteers who actually try their hardest and are motivated rather than
have people who slack off and really do not care to be there, wasting both
the organization’s time and their own.
Although the amount of teenage volunteers is increasing at an incredible
rate, not all are volunteering for the “right” reasons. Due to the fact that
many people see volunteering as a way to boost their college applications,
it puts many people in a position where they wonder what the purpose of
volunteering is.