We hear it so often: “my child doesn’t know how lucky they are.” Well, take it from us, you can lecture your child about their good fortune in life until you're blue in the face but children will learn this best through experience. One benefit of volunteering we can attest to is that your child will be able to better recognise their privilege and feel truly grateful for what they have.
But don't just take our word for it - a Melbourne University researcher together with Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, conducted a study on our Twelve participants last year with fantastic results. Our Twelve program was the case study for a research project conducted as part of Timothy Bramley’s Masters of Clinical Psychology degree at The University of Melbourne and examined "Positive psychological effects of volunteering in early adolescence”. Tim found that by engaging in regular volunteering, our batmitzvah girls then became more willing to engage in altruistic behaviour, and were able to appreciate the differences between their own lives and the people they were helping. And, unsurprisingly to us, Tim also found that our girls experienced a clear improvement in gratitude from engaging in regular volunteering.
Girls also showed they were happy about their volunteering and that they felt more socially connected. This, researcher Tim Bramley believes, could be due to our program’s unique ability to allow the girls to have direct contact with the recipients of the charities’ services.
We're delighted that the research has confirmed what we see each time our girls get out into the community: that giving back and helping others is a fantastic anecdote to today’s fast paced world for adolescents. Our girls tell us each time after they volunteer how lucky they feel, and express gratitude for their families, their health and their homes. They feel so excited and empowered to be able to make a difference to someone’s life.