National Opportunities

The Challenge Engaging Students in Community Service – It’s Not What You Expect

We were curious. Teens and parents often stumble upon Lion’s Heart  in their quest to find volunteer opportunities. They soon realize we have a full-fledged teen volunteer program where teens volunteer throughout the year, year after year. Students join Lion’s Heart because of a strong desire to give back to their community. But now more than ever, many students also have a class, graduation, National Honor Society, or another form of community service requirement.  

That got us thinking. How far reaching are student volunteer requirements?  Is this a private school tradition or has it hit mainstream public schools? How do students find volunteer opportunities? Do they track their hours? If yes, how? And looking to the future, how does their contribution reflect upon them as prospective college students and employees?  

alumni-survey-handsSo we asked. Lion’s Heart surveyed over 100 students, parents, and educators to understand how students are expected to navigate their community service requirements. Based on the manic cycles of our phones, chat lines, and email inquiries, we had a sense that students weren’t getting the support they needed. But frankly, the results which represent public, private, charter, magnet and homeschools, surprised us.

How encouraging, we thought. Schools of every kind are embracing service learning as an essential part of a students’ overall education.  We couldn’t agree more. But how are schools finding teen-friendly volunteer opportunities for their students?  The short answer – students and their parents are giving their favorite search engines a workout to find community service projects.  

alumni-survey-volunteers

An opportunity for more opportunities.  It’s not always easy to fit another activity into an overcrowded schedule of academics, athletics, music, friends and, and, and….  Students, along with their parents and educators want variety and frequency. Of those who chimed in, 52%, think weekly community service opportunities are the right cadence, while 38% feel they can get by on monthly volunteer notifications. In the minority were the remaining 10% surveyed who felt seasonal – fall, winter, spring, summer – volunteer projects were the right speed.  

Paper.  Yes, papalumni-survey-girler in 2017.  How community service is memorialized is no less curious. A shocking 57% of students use a paper tracking system, and 12% rely on a makeshift system like Google Sheets.  Only 8% of students have an app or online solution to record volunteer project details. 

We learned a lot.  But we’re more curious than ever about the barriers students encounter when they try to give back to their communities.  And because we’re all about inspiring a new generation of teen volunteering, count on the Lion’s Heart team to address some of these gaps.  Our survey is ongoing.  If you are a student, parent or educator and want to share your experience, click here.

Written by

Amy von Kaenel –Lion’s Heart Chief Strategy and Development Officer

Ways to Volunteer Over Summer Break

With homework and extracurricular school activities finished for the year, what better time to get a variety volunteer activities and experiences under your belt?

Volunteering can lead to a hidden passion that you may want to pursue in college, it can give you a sense of community and belonging, and it can look great to those college admissions officers and employers!

With school out, summer is a prime time to earn some volunteer hours.

Here are some ideas to help in your community this summer:

  • Volunteer at the library. Most libraries provide reading programs for small children, they are always looking for volunteers.

  • Help at Relay for Life or another walk/run for charity.

  • Volunteer at a hospital or senior center, make some time to visit and entertain them. There is no doubt that they will appreciate it.

  • Volunteer at your local soup kitchen or food pantry to get supplies packed up and to serve food to the homeless.

  • Volunteer at an animal shelter. Walk the dogs, be a companion for the animals.

  • Donate some old toys, blankets, shoes and clothing to a homeless shelter.

  • Make homemade cards with your friends to send to soldiers overseas or to deliver to your local hospital’s children’s ward to cheer them up.

  • Help with a beach or park clean up.

  • Volunteer at a local summer camp

  • Volunteer to help get teachers classrooms ready for the new school year.

Summer just started and what better way to earn hours and enjoy your summer than to volunteer some of that down time to others in need.

Giving back to your community can not only help others but can make you feel REALLY good!

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 9.11.58 AM

Can Volunteering Make You Have More Time?

From our friends at Forcefield.me, a great article about volunteers feel like they actually have more time! Strange, yes, we know.

Call it a completely counterintuitive phenomenon, but it turns out that volunteering may actually make you feel like you have more time. Yes, it makes little sense. For those of us already stretched thin with commitments, how could volunteering our precious hours make our time feel more plentiful?

Yet research suggests, that’s exactly the case.

A 2012 study, by researchers at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Yale’s School of Management, and Harvard Business School, found that people who spend time on others are more likely to feel they have more time themselves.

Researchers performed a series of experiments in which they asked two groups to complete different assignments — spending 10 minutes on themselves versus 30 minutes on others, or helping someone with a task versus leaving a meeting early. They found that those who helped other people perceived that they themselves had more time — a feeling the researchers call “time affluence.”

Read the entire article here.

For more information on Lion’s Heart see our website lionsheartservice.org.

5 Lessons Teens Learn When They Volunteer

We are thrilled to have the opportunity to guest blog on VolunteerSpot.

Community service is becoming a pillar in the edifice of American teenagedom. While school, sports, and even camp can be tightly scheduled and scripted experiences for students, community service offers an authentic, unscripted experience in contrast. Whether it’s serving hours towards a volunteer goal with a school group, going on Mission Trips with their faith community, or simply helping others with friends or family, volunteering is a life-changing, life-prepping activity young people should experience.

These key lessons and takeaways are the strongholds of why:  Read more here.

For more information on Lion’s Heart see our website lionsheartservice.org.

This week is National Volunteer Week, so how are YOU going to volunteer?

At Lion’s Heart, we encourage our Members to get out there and give back.

Serve your community with other Lion’s Heart Members, individually, or bring a friend along to share the experience of making a difference. By volunteering, teens are not only showing their compassion and empathy for their favorite causes, they’re learning to lead, and boosting their college resumes in the process. Research shows that teens who volunteer are happier and feel more connected to others in their community. We encourage you to get out there and volunteer!

Here are 7 easy ways you and your teen can volunteer this week:

  1. Animal Shelters

Local animal shelters almost always need volunteers. You can be a dog walker, do administrative work, or even be a pet soother. Fostering an animal is also a wonderful way to give back. Volunteer Match has a lot of animal based volunteer opportunities and you can also visit the Humane Society for a list of shelters near you.

  1. Food Banks or Soup Kitchens

Food pantries and soup kitchens can always use a hand organizing a local food drive or serving hot meals to those in need. FoodPantries.org and Feeding America is a great way to find a place that needs volunteers!

  1. Community or National Parks/Beaches

Go outdoors and enjoy the scenery while helping to clean up at the beach or local park. Try Volunteer Clean Up to find activities near you.

  1. Red Cross

You can give blood, or you can volunteer with the American Red Cross. They have a youth sign-up form on their website.

  1. Local Libraries

Libraries usually need help organizing the book shelves, helping kids with their homework, and special events like book signings and special programs. Libraries, also, typically have a summer reading program where teens can volunteer to read to the younger kids over their summer break. Check your local library!

  1. Retirement Homes/Senior Centers

Find your local senior center. You can offer to run errands or be a companion for a senior. Check out Create the Good and Elder Helpers.

  1. Champion Your Own Cause

Care about the drought?  Children in war-torn areas?  A specific disease that’s affected a friend or family member?  The opportunity to make a difference stretches as far as your imagination.  DoSomething.Org has some great examples of do-it-yourself service projects.

Volunteering is rewarding in so many ways. So, BE the change you want to see in the world, and give back to your community!

Lion’s Heart inspires teens to have a positive impact in their communities through leadership and participation in volunteering, providing needed resources for causes that ignite their passions. Join us!

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 9.11.58 AM

Top 5 Reasons Every Teen Should Volunteer

Aaron Regnier Photography

Aaron Regnier Photography

You guys all know the story of Lion’s Heart right? A young man by the name of Spencer was about to begin his 7th grade year in school. He wanted to volunteer in Orange County, California, but didn’t know where to get started. He found a lot of organizations for teen girls to get involved in the community, but he couldn’t find much out there for boys. So he decided change that. In his senior year of High School, Spencer said, “A fellow leader once told our group, ‘Those who serve in life are winners,’ and that’s something that I’ve always believed, to my very core. I have learned that when you give back, you are part of the community.”

Spencer and his mother, Terry Corwin, recognized the importance of giving back, so they worked together to create Lion’s Heart. Lion’s Heart, founded in 2004, offers teenagers a special connection with their communities by providing volunteer opportunities for teens across the nation. Teen volunteers gain a lot from their experiences as they learn, grow, and mature. Lion’s Heart is dedicated to organizing, inspiring, and empowering teens to serve the community in fun and meaningful ways while promoting leadership, accountability, and teamwork.

We’ve all been taught that giving back is important, and some schools even require students to volunteer before graduating. But why should your teens want to volunteer?

Here are 5 benefits of volunteering (believe me, there are more):

  1. You get to help those who need it. This is the obvious benefit, right? But it’s also the most important part. As a volunteer, you have a great opportunity to give back in any area that is important to you. For Spencer, making sure that all teens had the opportunity to volunteer was most important to him, so he started a volunteering organization. What passion could you pass on to others?
  2. Volunteering is great for your mental and even physical health. Not only does volunteering boost self-confidence and happiness, but it has also been found that people who volunteer have lower mortality rates than those who don’t.
  3. Volunteering can teach you the social and networking skills that you will need as an adult. Volunteering can teach teens how to network and build a list of important contacts. The people you volunteer with are also great candidates for recommendation letters. These are the people who have seen how you interact with others in social situations and how you handle new challenges.
  4. Volunteering lets you see how others experience the world and opens your eyes to something new. From volunteering with animal shelters to serving food at soup kitchens, volunteering can expose you to many experiences that you may not have known otherwise. Having new experiences can help you discover a new passion you never knew you had, while continuing to develop empathy and compassion for others.
  5. Make your resume shine. Volunteer experience can set you apart from other applicants for job and school applications. Your volunteer experience shows that you are ambitious, that you care about your community, and that you are willing to work to affect change. These are great college and career ready qualities that recruiters and admissions officers look for in a potential student or employee.

So how can you get started volunteering? Join the Lion’s Heart team!

We are not a fundraising organization, and most of our staff are volunteers. All of their volunteers are enthusiastic about serving the community, and teens can be involved with or without parent participation. It couldn’t be any easier to make a difference!

Lion’s Heart is for all teens across the nation. We invite you to join an existing volunteer. Spencer and his mother were able to change their community and communities across the country with their passion for community service. What will your passion lead you to change?

“Lion’s Heart gives me the opportunity to aid those in need and allows me to make a better connection with fellow classmates in the community.” Trevor C., Lion’s Heart Member, Class of 2011

“I have watched the kids grow, learn and expand their compassion and respect for people and their community. Debbie Powell, Class Coordinator

Sign up with Lion’s Heart today, and see how you can affect your community for the better. 

For more information on Lion’s Heart see our website lionsheartservice.org.

Admitsee Blog Post Features Lion’s Heart!

IMG_6560

We are so happy to have had AdmitSee feature Lion’s Heart and our amazing Members on their blog! Here is a great article about volunteering and how it positively affects your college application.

Becoming college and career ready while learning empathy and leadership is a fantastic result of giving back!

5 Reasons Volunteering Will Boost Your College Application

For more information on Lion’s Heart see our website lionsheartservice.org.

Lion’s Heart Information Meeting Next Thursday – March 10 in Palos Verdes

Aaron Regnier Photography

Aaron Regnier Photography

Lion’s Heart to Hold Teen Volunteer Information Meeting in Palos Verdes

Local 6-12 Grade Students and Parents Invited to Attend

MISSION VIEJO, California Lion’s Heart, a nationwide teen volunteer platform for 6th – 12th grade students, is holding an information meeting on Thursday, March 10th at 4:00 p.m. at the Peninsula Center Library. Lion’s Heart invites local teens and parents to attend and learn more about membership benefits including volunteer, leadership and scholarship opportunities. To RSVP to the event, please visit http://whoozin.com/LionsHeart.

“Our program is designed to teach teens life skills and establish a strong, well-rounded portfolio that will help them as they apply to college and begin careers,” said Terry Corwin, Lion’s Heart Founder and Executive Director. “Lion’s Heart alumni have gone on to a number of prestigious public and private universities including many of the Ivy League schools. Recently, 81-percent of our graduates reported their involvement in our organization was beneficial during the college application process.”

Lion’s Heart’s 2016 enrollment period opened on February 1st. Members are arranged in groups consisting of three to twenty teens grouped by gender, grade and location. Groups are run by peer-elected officers and supervised by an adult volunteer. This structure allows Members to dictate how their group would like to serve their community. For more information about how to enroll, please visit the Lion’s Heart website www.lionsheartservice.org or Facebook page.