Why Service Learning Matters: YouthQuest, TeenQuest Students Learn the Importance of Giving Back


Community engagement is one of the pillars of YouthQuest. It is an opportunity for students to look beyond themselves and learn how they can make a difference in their community. However, there are more benefits to volunteerism than one might expect.

According to a study performed at the University of Nevada, students who volunteer are less likely to engage in destructive behavior; learn valuable lessons in respect, leadership and understanding; and are more likely to do well in school, graduate, and vote.

“We strive to form fully rounded students,” says Cheryl Adkins, program director for YouthQuest. “Through community engagement, our students learn valuable lessons that can help them transition into responsible adults.”

Various activities that YouthQuest students participated in this year include school beautification, making gift bags for those in need and collecting food for local shelters.

In TeenQuest, students work together participating in a group service project.

“We give students the opportunity to give back to their community,” says James Avery, director of Education & Training at the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce. “During our last session, students raised more than $1,900 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Flint.”

Over the five-week session, TeenQuest sites created their own projects to raise money for the local organization. Projects ranged from running bottle-return drives to selling various products such as chips or candy bars.

There’s also a bonus benefit to volunteering that teens may not think about. According to Habitat for Humanity, volunteering can help improve employment prospects. Volunteers have a 27 percent higher likelihood of finding a job than non-volunteers.

YouthQuest is made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

TeenQuest and Summer Youth Initiative are made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

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