Partnerships Column

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Teenagers volunteer at a higher rate than adults do, and their involvement is on the rise, a new publication from Independent Sector concludes.

About 61 percent of youths ages 12 to 17--compared with 51 percent of adults--volunteer an average of about three hours a week, according to a national survey of 2,671 young people conducted in April by the Gallup Organization for Independent Sector, a coalition of nonprofit groups, foundations, and corporate-giving programs.

Among the groups for which teenagers volunteer are religious organizations (48 percent), youth-development organizations (43 percent), schools or educational groups (36 percent), environmental groups (30 percent), and arts, culture, and humanities organizations (18 percent).

Almost half also reported taking part in informal volunteer activities, such as babysitting for free or baking cookies for a school fair.

Independent Sector also found that at schools that encourage service, a higher percentage of students volunteer than at schools that do not.

Eight percent of the youths surveyed said they believe that performing a minimum number of hours of community service is a graduation requirement at their schools. More than half the respondents--56 percent--said they would rather voluntarily perform service than be required to do so, but 45 percent said they felt such mandates are "O.K. if people benefit from it.'' Nine percent said they would be "angry'' if service were required.

Copies of "America's Teenagers as Volunteers'' are available for $6.50 each from Independent Sector Publications, P.O. Box 451, Annapolis Junction, Md. 20701; (301) 490-3229.

"Why lock the doors at three o'clock?'' the Pew Partnership for Civic Change asks in its new issue paper on the increasing use of school facilities for community activities.

After decades of increasing separation between schools and their surrounding neighborhoods, the report points out that more cities and towns are trying to restore the role of schools as hubs of community life.

It highlights efforts to keep schools open longer and to use vacant schools for community activities and for affordable housing in four cities: Charleston, W.Va; Utica, N.Y.; Visalia, Calif.; and Waco, Tex.

Copies of the paper are available free from the Pew Partnership for Civic Change, 145-C Ednam Dr., Charlottesville, Va., 22903; (814) 871-2073.

Vol. 13, Issue 36, Page 9

Published in Print: June 1, 1994, as Partnerships Column
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