Courtney Banach

Volunteering Teaches Teens Life Skills

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Thursday January 17, 2013

With college fast approaching, many high school students are looking for ways to become more involved in meaningful, stimulating extracurricular opportunities. One of the easiest and most available opportunities is to become a volunteer. Volunteering not only allows a student to make a meaningful contribution to their community, but also to gain job experience in an environment that they enjoy. 

Nearly any interest can be turned into a volunteer opportunity. Those students interested in sports can volunteer with the South Burlington Recreation Department. Additionally, students who are interested in environmental ecology can volunteer at ECHO in Burlington.

Volunteering not only allows students to make a difference in their own backyard, but also to gain job experience and learn important skills, such as time management and interacting effectively with the public. Many students leave high school not knowing how to speak in front of a large audience or manage their time, and often they enter the workplace unprepared.

South Burlington High School junior Courtney Banach knows firsthand how volunteering can help a student build their level of job experience. For more than three years, Banach volunteered as a Steward in Training (SIT) at Shelburne Farms. As an SIT, Banach was required to interact directly with the public, whether it meant speaking to them about the animals, or leading a demonstration on wool spinning. Working so closely with the public helped Banach gain confidence in her public interaction abilities. “The SIT program… has helped me become more confidant in my public speaking and interactions,” she says.

Volunteering can also help students get a better idea of what type of career they would like to pursue when they are older, and allows them to gain experience in that area. “After volunteering in this program many times, “ says Banach, “it has helped me understand that one day I would like to work on a farm.”

If you are a South Burlington High School student who is interested in volunteer opportunities, please visit the Career Development Center in the South Burlington High School library or contact CDC Coordinator, Nancy LaVarnway, at or: 652-7018. 

SOURCE: Talia Solomon, SBHS CDC Correspondent