- Participating in community activities gives you more opportunities to become an independent and successful adult.
- It provides you with a group of friends who can help you learn more about yourself and your talents and help you make better decisions.
- By connecting with your community, you are never alone. You have a place to go and people to talk with when you need it.
- The more you help others, the better you feel and the more likely that someone will be there for you.
Teens can—and do!—improve the communities they live in.
While families provide the love and support needed for teens to become more independent, teens active in their community will:
- Do better in school.
- Find it easier to stay out of trouble.
- Be less likely to become depressed or suicidal.
Making Community Connections
- Ask about service projects. Check with your school or where you worship about volunteering at homeless shelters, soup kitchens, nursing homes, or child care centers.
- Work for a political campaign.
- Tutor children at the library or become a coach.
- Help clean up the neighborhood.
Do what you love.
Try different things until you discover your passion. Art, music, writing, drama, or sports are just some examples.
Keep in touch with family members.
Learn about your family— both near and far. Ask about family stories and history. Get in touch with family you have not met or have not seen for a while or plan a family reunion.
Get to know your neighbors.
Talk with people who have different cultural backgrounds, religious or spiritual beliefs, and political values.
Nobody Succeeds Alone— Everyone Needs Help
There are many adults in your community who can help.
- A teacher, coach, or counselor at school can help point you in the right direction.
- A neighbor, relative, friend's parent, or your boss can give you the advice you need to make decisions.
- A spiritual leader or an adult at an after-school activity or club can help you through a hard time.
Find people who can stay calm and listen, understand you, and give you practical advice.
It is hard to talk with parents about some topics. Find other trusted adults who can help. They also can help teens and parents figure out how to talk with each other.
Your Parents' Job
You are now old enough to start making your own decisions and taking care of yourself, but parents are still there to help keep you safe and guide you in becoming an independent adult.
For safety reasons, parents will ask about:
Parents need to know the names of friends.
They also will want to meet your friends as well as meet and talk to your friends' parents.
Parents still can help solve problems.
This includes correcting you when you make a mistake, without making you feel bad.
Parents can help you get involved with community activities.
Being involved with your community will help you become independent, develop new skills, and help others.
Copyright © 2006American Academy of Pediatrics