TEENAGERS living in Australia have been identified as the country’s most generous generation when it comes to volunteering.
A global interview of more than 22,000 online users over the age of 15 in 17 countries showed the frequency of volunteer or charity work among consumers aged 15 and over.
According to the survey by GfK, Australians aged between 15 and 19 volunteered more regularly than other age groups.
About 21 per cent of Australian teenagers volunteered at least once a week, and a further 20 per cent said they engaged in charitable works monthly.
By contrast, about 38 per cent of people aged 50 to 59 said they never engaged in volunteer or charity work.
An organisation that relies on volunteers is the St Vincent de Paul Society.
Vinnies Queensland state youth development manager Cass Bull said young people made up nearly one-fifth of the society’s volunteer base, not including school communities.
“We were started by a 21-year-old (Frederic Ozanam), so part of our rule is to preserve the spirit of youth,” Ms Bull (pictured) said.
She said there was a large influence from Catholic schools that embedded social justice programs into their curriculum.
“When they come to Vinnies they already have a charitable heart,” Ms Bull said.
“We make sure our programs are helping people in need, and Vinnies is always about meeting people where they are at, so we go into people’s homes, hospitals and detention centres.
“Young people are able to see the need with their own eyes.”
The most recent challenge is providing quality programs that worked around the hectic schedule of Australian youth.
“We can’t keep asking young people to volunteer nine-to-five, that’s not a reality anymore,” Ms Bull said.
Other organisations that struggle to captivate young people have managed to grow a volunteer base of retirees, who showed up on the survey in third place for weekly volunteering.
Catholic Women’s League Coffee Lounge convenor Marj Williams, a retired caterer who has volunteered in her role for the past 15 years, said their youngest volunteer was aged 60.
Open Monday to Friday, the coffee lounge volunteers have served up hot and cold beverages, breakfast and lunch, and delicious snacks since 1928.
“You get to the stage where you’ve retired from work and you want to keep your hand in something,” Mrs Williams said.
“Others have worked for over 50 years and believe they deserve to sit and relax.