“When I Grow up I Want to be a Volunteer” – The Influence of Parents’ Engagement

Super heroes aren’t the only ones who can influence child behavior. Volunteering is powerful, too, said Grace Aguiling-Dalisay, a psychologist who specializes in child rehabilitation.
Children should be encouraged to volunteer because it promotes empathy and sets the stage for a lifetime of service and activism in the global community, she said. In addition, volunteering promotes “healthy, socially responsible adults,” with good social skills, said Aguiling-Dalisay, a keynote speaker at the 64th UN/DPI conference in Bonn.
Children are more likely to volunteer if other people around them volunteer, said Aguiling-Dalisay, who also serves as chairperson of the Voluntary Service Overseas Bahaginan (VSO).
Unfortunately, society might be jeopardizing childhood development through “financial insecurities, family instability and social inequalities,” she said.
That’s why volunteers are needed more than ever, she said, noting 2011 is the United Nations International Year of Volunteers. Making connections and forming networks is an important part of the volunteer sector enabling “people (to) share skills professionally and contribute,” she said.
In the long term, mutual collaboration can bring about a future where children, youth and adults cooperate together for a more responsible society.
Aguiling-Dalisay is no stranger to volunteering. She has devoted much of her professional life to helping children.  For the last 35 years, she has worked in academia and in the civil society sector. She currently works in Manila and in 1997 she was appointed director of the voluntary centre there. She co-founded the Volunteer Organizations Infoirmation Coordination and Exchange (VOICE).


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