Chicago Volunteering has helped define a generation of young Americans who are known for their do-gooder ways. Many high schools require community service before graduation. And these days, donating time to a charitable organization is all but expected on a young person’s college or job application.
Even so, an analysis of federal data has found that the percentage of teens who volunteer dipped in recent years, ending an upward trend that began after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“They’re still volunteering at higher rates than their parents did,” says Peter Levine, director of Tufts University’s Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement, also known as CIRCLE.
But, he adds, there’s been “a loss of momentum,” which he hopes recent passage of the federal Serve America Act will help address.