Makarios School is composed of intelligent and creative interest-directed learners, who get to decide how and when to learn. Our mission is to equip those students to be confident lifelong learners who will positively contribute to our society.
Yes, that’s kind of an ambiguous statement...there are endless ways to be a positive contributor to society! But we designed our mission to be open-ended. As a self-directed learner, Makarios students get to choose what they pursue, learn, and become passionate about. We want them to reach for the stars, chase their dreams, and boldly believe that they will one day meet (or exceed!) their goals and desires.
Teens and Volunteering
According to research, 73% of today’s youth believe that volunteering for a cause truly makes a difference in their community, and most teens find volunteering to be “cool”. Teens most passionately care about animals, hunger, and homelessness, in that order. Interest-directed students can discover their passions without the hindrances of a red tape-filled school system.
Maybe they want to find families for homeless animals, provide care packages for local foster children, tutor illiterate refugees, protect the national parks, or help build a school in a foreign country. If they don’t find an organization to volunteer with, our students have the freedom to create their own catering to their passions. The sky is the limit!
How self-directed learning impacts volunteering
One neat perk of self-directed learning is that students discover who they are and where they “fit in.” Knowing their niche can help them give back to others because they are self-aware of their strengths, weaknesses, and interests. For example, one professor and researcher noted three types of citizens:
- Personally responsible citizens who like to help people they know, such as donating blood.
- Participatory citizens are involved in community projects, like beautifying the streets.
- Justice-oriented citizens help invent solutions to the problems in society, such as how to house and provide necessities for incoming refugees.
With this knowledge, our school can help students find their passion, get involved early, and change the world!
The benefits of volunteering
If that’s not convincing enough, check out the evidence for how the benefits of volunteering!
Lifestyle: Teenagers who volunteer at least 1 hour per week are 50% less likely to become pregnant, use cigarettes, abuse alcohol, or participate in other destructive behaviors.
Personality: Volunteering teaches students how to be more
- Understanding of differences (racial, age, beliefs, etc.)
- Aware of their value as a citizen
- Perform well in school (not fail classes or need to retake courses)
- Develop leadership skills
- Be socially aware
- According to a 2008 survey, colleges place a higher value on a continually volunteering at a local organization rather than a short-term volunteer trip abroad.
Adulthood: If a student is involved in volunteer work as a student, they are three times more likely to take part in civic activities or donate to charitable organizations as an adult, and are likely to have a stronger work ethic as well.
Health: Being a volunteer reduces stress, blood pressure, and depression. It also increases overall well-being and life satisfaction.
Society: Participation in school-based volunteer work is associated with a greater student interest in politics and current events.
We’re doing our part to inspire your kids to aim for the moon, never give up, and learn what they’re interested in. The scientists are clear about one thing: parents have a large influence on the volunteer work of high school students, but college-aged kids are more influenced by their peers. If your kids volunteer now, they will have a greater influence on their peers later. Let’s partner together to create better contributors to society!
- Benefits for Youth by youth.gov
- Youth Helping America: Educating for Active Citizenship: Service Learning, School Based Service, and Youth Civic Engagement by the Corporation for National and Community Service
- The Effects of Volunteering on the Young Volunteer
- Young Volunteers: The Benefits of Community Service by The University of Nevada Reno Cooperative Extension
- Personal Characteristics of the College Volunteer
- Volunteering May Be Good for Body and Mind, by Harvard Medical School
- Why Volunteering Is So Good for Your Health
- The Benefits of Volunteerism, if the Service Is Real, by The New York Times