Teen volunteering high

More than half of American teenagers volunteered last year, a rate that almost doubles that for adults, a new study says.

The study, conducted by the Corporation for National and Community service, the U.S. Census Bureau and Independent Sector, analyzed volunteer activities of youth ages 12 to 18 and found they contributed a total of more than 1.3 billion hours of service in 2004.

About 15.5 million teens volunteered last year, or about 55 percent, compared to a volunteer rate for adults of about 29 percent, the study says.

Almost four in 10 youth surveyed say they have volunteered as part of a school activity, but only 5 percent say school requirements are the reason for their service.

About three in four youth volunteers participate in service projects through a religious organization, a school group or a leadership group such as scouts, and almost two in three youth who attend religious services regularly also volunteer.

Youth who volunteer are twice as likely to volunteer when they reach adulthood than teens who don’t, the study says, and those who do volunteer tend to do better in school.

Teens with at least one parent who volunteers are almost twice as likely to volunteer than youth with no parent donating time, the study says.

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