Sue Scheff: Teen Entrepreneur and Summer Volunteering

With today's economy teens and kids are watching or hearing about many of their families having to cut back and become more aware of what they are spending. As parents we need to encourage our kids to look at their future - build a foundation - nurture a dream. With today's technology the ideas are always expanding. Check out this article and get your kids started in a positive direction!

Source: Connect with Kids
Teen Entrepreneur
“I’m a gigantic believer in the value of an entrepreneurial experience- if there’s any time in someone’s life when they ought to take a risk it’s when they are not saddled with an enormous number of financial and family responsibilities.”

– Andrea Hershatter, Ph.D., M.B.A.

When today’s teens talk about what they want to be when they grow up … the answer that is becoming more common than ever is: my own boss.

Like a lot of college freshmen, Sean Belnick has a job on the side. He works for a company that brings in more than 20-million dollars a year. It’s his company… he owns it.

“We started off with a couple of orders a day and it just mushroomed from there,” he says.

A huge warehouse now stocks the office chairs he sells online. But it all started in his bedroom, when he was 15 years old.

“I always had an entrepreneurial spirit,” he says.

More teens than ever are tapping into their entrepreneurial spirit. In fact, according to Junior Achievement Worldwide, interest in entrepreneurship camps is up 30 percent.

What’s more, experts say, kids have a huge advantage as entrepreneurs because they know the web and know network sites like Facebook and Myspace.

“They intuitively understand the power and potential of using web based services for distribution, for marketing, for outreach… for connections,” says Andrea Herchatter with Emory University, “And they’re incredible networkers who have a very large number of human resources in terms of their peers at their disposal.”

“That’s the whole thing with the internet really,” says Belnick, “Anyone can put a web site up. And it looks professional. But there’s nothing saying that there’s a 20-year-old kid behind it. Which is the biggest thing about the internet, you know, you can create your own credibility.”

Experts say parents should encourage entrepreneurship in their kids… whether it’s moving lawns or an online business.

They may not make millions… but they will learn a lot about managing a business and turning a profit.

“I think they learn, they grow, they mature. If they are not enriched financially then at least they are enriched in terms of life experiences that will serve them forever,” says Herchatter.

Tips for Parents

With the employment rate down for teens, many are opting for volunteer positions instead of paid positions. And despite many adults being convinced of a decline in the values and morals of today’s young people, recent surveys show that many teens are giving of their time to work for causes in which they believe and to help those who are less fortunate. Teens find volunteer opportunities through religious organizations, school-based programs and community agencies.

Teens listed several reasons for volunteering:

Compassion for people in need
Feeling they can do something for a cause in which they believe
A belief that if they help others, others will help them
In addition, some teens volunteer their time in occupational fields in which they are interested. In addition to being helpful, they are able to use their experiences in deciding on future career choices.

Teens reported benefiting from their volunteer experiences in many ways, including:

Learning to respect others.
Learning to be helpful and kind.
Learning to understand people who are different from them.
Developing leadership skills.
Becoming more patient.
Gaining a better understanding of good citizenship.
Exploring or learning about career options.
Developing new career goals.

Children learn from their parents. The survey showed teens that reported having positive role models were nearly twice as likely to volunteer as those who did not. Encourage your child to volunteer by setting an example. Youth Service America provides additional ways to increase teen volunteerism:

Ask them to volunteer.

Encourage youth to get involved at an early age. Volunteering when young creates lifelong adult volunteers.

Encourage children and young adults to participate in community groups, faith-based organizations, student government and school projects.

Encourage a positive self-image so young people are able to help others and contribute to their communities.

Be a mentor in your community.

Provide young people with opportunities to take courses that include and even require community service.

References
The Higher Education Research Institute
The Independent Sector
Youth Service America

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