Martin Luther King Jr. Day spotlights millennials’ spiked interest in volunteer work
Jan. 15, 2018
The number of millennials giving back to their communities is on the rise, according to a local nonprofit, especially if the volunteer work is beneficial for their education and career goals.
HandsOn Greater Phoenix puts over 25,000 volunteers to work every year. HandsOn is a non-profit organization that matches volunteers with different jobs from homelessness issues to animal welfare programs around the area.
“We’re really seeing a lot more young people – middle school, high school, college-age students – coming out to volunteer,” says HandsOn Greater Phoenix President Rhonda Oliver. “I think people have notions in their head of what a volunteer looks like in America and what that experience looks like but it’s really ever-changing and evolving.”
Millennials are drawn to the group experience, says Oliver, because it’s a way for them to spend time with family or friends while also giving them the opportunity to meet new people.
Student volunteer Aiyden Lirange says he was encouraged to volunteer because his school rewards students who have a certain number of volunteer hours with special recognition and a sticker to put on their diploma.
Volunteer Carol Haueter says she started volunteering in order to spend more time with her grandson while also being productive and helping the community.
Oliver says the main challenge of attracting younger people to volunteer is pulling them away from technology, which HandsOn Greater Phoenix hoped to do by making volunteering a relevant and interesting experience.