Student Volunteerism on the Rise

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Wakulla High School student Kelly Resha volunteers with Westminster Oaks, a retirement community in Tallahassee.

"If it is to walk around with the residents, to do clerical work or to walk someone outside, I'm just a free bird," said Resha.

For students like Resha, volunteering can open up opportunities for scholarships and always leads to meeting new people.

"Just by answering phones, working with youth, reading and things of that nature, it's a rewarding experience," says Llamide Dawodu, a volunteer coordinator in Leon County.

Akin Ritchie was recently named Volunteer of the Year in Leon County. Aside from helping others, the recent high school graduate also spends his time as a volunteer coordinator.

"You could do 1,000 hours, but if you are not into it, then it will not mean anything. By the same token it's pretty hard to do volunteer work and not get in to it," says Ritchie.

In recent years, the rates for teenagers who volunteer have steadily increased, rising from 67 percent in 1990 to more than 76 percent in 2001.

A recent survey of incoming college freshmen found that more than 83 percent reported they had volunteered while in high school.