3 Ways for Today’s Youth to Share Gratitude at Thanksgiving

For most teenagers, Thanksgiving is about three activities: watching football, Black Friday, and eating the largest meal of the year. In the midst of all this, the true meaning of Thanksgiving (gratitude) can easily get lost.

Gratitude is something that isn’t easy for adolescents to understand. That’s mainly because of how they’re hardwired. A child’s teenage years are when they tend to be quite self-centered.

From a deep longing for the latest Kanye West sneakers to feelings of “I want to be the center of attention in gym class,” they can be a handful.

So how can we instill the value of gratitude in our teenagers? Well, the best way to start is by showing love, appreciation, and gratitude to our teenagers.

Yes, they tend to be strong-willed, know-it-alls, and yes, they know how to roll their eyes. But nevertheless, we’re grateful for them. Next on the list is leading by example.

The following are some volunteering opportunities you can partake in with your teen that’ll help them learn the meaning and importance of sharing gratitude.

Homeless Shelters
Homelessness is one of the nation’s most pressing issues, and in the cold winter months that precede the arrival of Thanksgiving, it can be particularly harsh. And although there’s no person who can solve this problem on their own, you and your teen can definitely play your part.

Homeless shelters are always in need of clothing donations. Having your teen clean out their closet to donate lightly-used clothes, and volunteering with them at your local homeless shelter can instill a sense of empathy in them and make them realize how privileged and fortunate they are.

Senior Communities
Although the holidays are a time of festivities and joy for most of us, they’re the loneliest time of the year for others. The people who fall into this latter category include seniors who don’t have many friends or family.

Nothing would make them smile more than having a friendly face to spend some time with and talk to. So, get in touch with your local senior homes and ask about any volunteer opportunities you and your teenager can sign up for. Who knows, maybe your teenager will end up finding a new friend or mentor?

Toy Donations
Thanksgiving officially marks the commencement of the festive season, and all the associated gift-giving. Unfortunately, not all parents can afford to surprise their kids with new toys. When you’re picking up presents for your family, purchase a couple of extra presents to donate.

Have your teenager wrap up these gifts and drop them off at organizations that are collecting toys for underprivileged children. You can also ask your teenager to donate the old toys they’ve outgrown.

If you’re looking to make a positive difference to your community this Thanksgiving, consider making a donation to our youth leadership growth and development programs. Get in touch with us to learn more!

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