As parents, educators, and community members, we all want our children to thrive, to be kind and engaged citizens, who, perhaps most importantly, believe in themselves. There are many factors that contribute to an individual’s self worth, but a recent NPR article “Helping Strangers May Help Teen’s Self Esteem” highlights several connections between acts of generosity and teens’ self esteem. As you may infer from the article’s title,“when it comes to helping others, teens may benefit psychologically from spending time helping strangers.” In fact, a study published in December in the Journal of Adolescence suggests that “altruistic behaviors, including large and small acts of kindness, may raise teens’ feelings of self-worth. However, not all helping behaviors are the same. The researchers found that adolescents who assisted strangers reported higher self-esteem one year later.”
At Wow, we believe in the power of helping others and the benefits it has on both the individual and the community. But we are also excited to learn that the impact of connecting Wow students with new nonprofits and new people within the community, can actually enhance their self esteem. The findings of these studies reveal that “volunteering may do more than boost personal morale; studies show altruism can help people connect socially, which may prevent loneliness, as well as alleviate mental health concerns, like depression.”
It is our goal for Wow students, as well as the nonprofits, and individuals they impact, to experience the positive effects of generosity. And in that process, we hope to give future generations invaluable personal connections and stronger self esteem, so that we continue to see the effects of altruism towards all community members.
Photo, courtesy of the Environmental Resources Center, features students participating in the ERC’s 2016 Clean Sweep.
Fraga, Juli. “Helping Strangers May Help Teen’s Self Esteem.” NPR: Boise State Public Radio: Public Health. www.npr.org, January 13th 2018.