MADISON (WKOW)-- When school lets out a lot of teens may be without a summer job. The latest Dane County Youth assessment showed 21 percent of teens were looking for a job but couldn't find one. But, there is another way high schoolers can be productive when they're not in school.
Maria Riano is 18 and a member of the United Way Youth Volunteer Corps. She joined three years ago when she couldn't find a paying job but wanted to spend her time doing something productive.
“I think it's really important to give back to your community and it was something that I wanted to have in my resume with college and work and everything,” Maria said.
“Volunteering and internships is really another component to that path of career exploration,” said Lauren Rock, who runs the youth volunteer program at the United Way of Dane County.
Maria and her volunteer corps peers do everything from building projects to helping in schools to organizing the area's global youth service day.
“I like that I'm helping someone and what I'm actually doing is paying off,” sad 17-year-old volunteer Alanna Mulcahey.
And though that pay off isn't monetary, the teens say it's probably even more valuable.
“I think it kinda builds character,” said Alex Jordan, a 17-year-old volunteer.
Alex volunteers with his brother, Spencer.
“Helping out in the community feels great,” Spencer said. “Like knowing you're helping people and making a difference in the community.”
The work also builds resumes and boosts college applications.
“It definitely gives that return because you get that skill development, you get to network and meet new people,” Rock said.
“I think it definitely shows the kind of person you are,” Maria said. “If they see oh she volunteers, she likes to give back and help other people.”
Maria says her volunteer experience eventually did help her find a job and get in to college.
If you are interested in volunteering, you can click here for more information.
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