Serving Her Community: 5 Mental Health Benefits for Your Teen

At Greenbrier Academy for Girls, we offer students multiple opportunities throughout the year to express the virtues they’ve learned through Aspirations through service to others. Girls are able to participate in many different projects, including Food for Children, Habitat for Humanity, local animal shelters and Walk for Breast Cancer. Aside from local service, students at our boarding school also participate in global service trips from time to time. In 2010, for instance, several students attended a trip to Africa, where the girls helped with building projects.

At our therapeutic boarding school, we believe that volunteering in and serving the community can make the lives of those served better, but also provide several mental health benefits for those doing the serving.

Reduce The Risk for Depression and Stress

 According to a Carnegie Mellon study published in the Harvard Health Publications, many people who serve their community find their stress is greatly reduced. It’s also helpful for decreasing the risk of depression because volunteer work often increases social interaction and helps forge relationships with others who have similar interests and commitments.

Breaking the Cycle of Dysfunction

Helping others through service-oriented activities has helped many girls at our boarding school break the cycle of dysfunction they have struggled with in the past. Through their volunteer hours, the teens are able to practice the virtues they learn in Aspirations, expressing respect, honesty and trust to others.

Encouraging Mental Planning

When your daughter is thinking about what she can do for others, she’s providing herself with a different perspective on life. This type of mental preparation is not only good for her mental health but can open her up to new possibilities. She may be more likely to embrace new opportunities for community service as well as new opportunities for her future.

Increased Brain Function

A John Hopkins study in 2009 revealed that those that participate in community service experience increased brain functioning. As a volunteer, your daughter will be thinking and moving at the same time, which can help her with academics and as well as decision-making skills.

Increased Self-Confidence

Many girls who attend Greenbrier boarding school begin their journey with little to no self-confidence. They aren’t sure where they fit in, who they are or why they even exist. Community service helps answer some of these questions and increase their self-confidence at the same time.

Physical Benefits of Volunteering

Community service projects can also help your daughter in physical ways. Volunteering has been shown to:

  • – Lower blood pressure
  • – Increase cardiovascular health
  • – Improve lifespan

In fact, in the aforementioned Carnegie Mellon study, it was found that people who volunteer are much more likely to exercise and eat healthy diets. This can contribute to the three physical benefits above as well.

Community service projects are an important part of Greenbrier for many reasons, but the most critical are their effects on your daughter’s mental health. By helping others, she can reduce her risk of depression, lower her stress and begin thinking and planning for a better, brighter future.

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