Connecting With Your Community

Research demonstrates the importance of community involvement for the overall development of adolescents. Adolescents involved in their communities are less likely to be involved with alcohol, drugs, violence, and promiscuous sexual activity. Besides volunteering for various community organizations, there are mentoring programs and after-school sports, arts, and community service programs that provide important outlets for youths. These groups can help teenagers identify with an adult who believes in them, supports them, and helps them problem solve. As teenagers' relationships with their parents become more complex, additional adult role models become increasingly important. Teenagers who are given the opportunity to contribute to their community feel valued and are less likely to engage in destructive behavior. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Injury Free Coalition for Kids has been instrumental in helping to leverage hospital resources for supportive groups ranging from bicycle repair shops to teenage dance troupes.

How to Use This Tool

  • This brochure can be used as a motivational tool to encourage teens to begin expanding their connections, supports, and responsibilities and to promote their increasing maturity.
  • Give this brochure to parents to provide information about positive steps of the teenager toward independence and the changing role of teenager as a productive contributory and valued participant in our community.
Helpful Hint

As an accompaniment to this brochure, clinics may want to develop a resource guide for teenagers or have a contact person who can help interested youth find community groups. Schools, faith-based organizations, and police-sponsored Boys & Girls Clubs often provide opportunities for teenagers to be involved with their communities and may be able to help identify other groups that more specifically fit the interests and talents of these young adults.

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