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On Parenting
Posted at 02:07 PM ET, 06/08/2011

Grads and teens home? Volunteer them

Blame the weak economy for a cramped house this summer. Parents of older children may be facing a few aggravating months of sharing their homes with bored teens and frustrated college graduates.

The Post yesterday published a story about how recent college
A small group of volunteers work to clean trash from the Watts Branch Stream, where its slight flow of water crosses from Maryland into Northeast D.C. (Jahi Chikwendiu - The Washington Post)
graduates are returning back to their parents homes in droves. My colleague Carolyn Butler collected some great advice on how parents can live harmoniously with returning graduates and vice versa.

Adding to the pressure may be teens who this summer are being squeezed out of the jobs market. That could mean some cramped couch space.

One solution: volunteering. The National Conference on Volunteering and Service is underway this week in New Orleans. Several panels focus on getting young people more involved in volunteering and have brought together organizations that want to do just that.

“Parents may want to be starting from the perspective of what their kids are interested in,” said Robert Rosenthal, spokesman for Volunteer Match, an online service participating at the conference.

“When teenagers are able to find things that interest them, we think that’ll lead to a better experience. It’s like a good meal. You start by looking for the kinds of food you like.”

The free match site has an advanced search feature that will narrow opportunities by areas of interests — a great tool for a recent graduate who wants to build their resume too — or by age group.

A sampling of the 1,000-plus Washington D.C. area opportunities in the database: festival planning, museum docent, river cleanup, child care assistant, social media specialist, computer training, tour guide.

Meredith Gelman, a Fairfax-based family therapist said smaller local groups are also a good source of opportunities. Local organizations, shelters and programs may not advertise for volunteers, but if a teenager or recent graduate is ready and willing to help, an opening will appear.

What’s your family’s summer strategy? Will your kids volunteer?

By  |  02:07 PM ET, 06/08/2011

 
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