Desert Companion

Want your teen to make a difference?

 Here’s advice from TeenMD’s pioneers

  • Start early. When kids are in middle school is ideal, moms said, because after that they get over-extended with activities.
  • Enlist people who get along. “I think it worked because the kids were good friends anyway, not just the moms, ” Newman says.
  • Keep it easygoing. Allow them to put organized events first. “If somebody had a soccer game? They couldn’t go that day. It’s OK,” Mahoney says.
  • Keep it informal. No dues and no agenda means no drama, Newman says. The more demands you make, the less fun it will be.
  • That said, commit. “It requires a lot of hard work and time, and you have to really want to do this,” Conner Au says.
  • Pick a ringleader. Let families choose causes and organize outings in their own way, but designate someone to keep track of and share contact information, and keep the trains running on time.
  • Go local. TeenMD prefers grassroots groups over national organizations, which typically have enough name recognition and marketing to get plenty of volunteers.
  • Don’t give up. Interest in the group will wax and wane, Mahoney says, but if you keep it fun, people will keep showing up.

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