Youth volunteering for youth: Who are they serving? How are they being served?

Debbie Haski-Leventhal, Natti Ronel, Alan S. York, Boaz M. Ben-David

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Youth volunteering for at-risk youth can have an impact on the clients' willingness to receive help as well as the youth who volunteer. The current study, undertaken in drop-in centers for youth at-risk in Israel, studied youth volunteers in comparison with adult volunteers as well as the clients of the service. It combined quantitative and qualitative data in order to understand the motivations, benefits and commitment of youth volunteers and to compare these aspects with those of adult volunteers in the same organization. Findings show that youth volunteers have different motivations, benefits and costs than adult volunteers. Youth volunteers are more relationship oriented; adult volunteers are more service oriented; and the volunteer group plays several important roles in youth volunteering. The clients (at-risk youth) perceived the youth volunteers as helpful and described how volunteers their age changed their world view and empowered them to volunteer themselves. In addition, there are blurred boundaries between youth clients and volunteers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)834-846
Number of pages13
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research described here was carried out under the auspices of the Interdisciplinary Center for Children and Youth Studies, and the Bob Shapell School for Social Work, Tel-Aviv University. It was funded by the Research and Planning Administration and Division of Service Development, the Israel National Insurance Institute, and by ELEM, Association for Youth at Risk.


  • Adolescents
  • At-risk youth
  • Group
  • Motivation
  • Youth volunteers


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