Category: Danielle Herschitz

Building Empathy and Social Responsibility in Teens & the Role of Charity Involvement

Danielle Herschitz

Today’s life is lived on small screens, with “followers” and “friends,” but no real, tangible connection. Now more than ever, it’s crucial to nurture empathy, social connectedness, and social responsibility to the younger generation.

This is where charity involvement shines, offering adolescents a unique avenue to experience personal, educational, and professional growth while contributing to the betterment of their communities.

Danielle Herschitz takes a look at the wealth of benefits that charity involvement can bring to teens, molding them into empathetic and socially responsible members of society.

Personal Growth

By serving others, teens gain first-hand experience of working with diverse people. This helps their social awareness to develop at a deeper level, learning empathy and fulfillment as they see how their presence directly contributes to betterment of the community.

Studies show that empathy correlates to:

  • More classroom engagement
  • Higher academic achievement
  • Better communication skills
  • Lower likelihood of bullying
  • Less aggressive behaviors and emotional disorders
  • More positive relationships

Everyone has the capacity for empathy, but it’s something that doesn’t develop without nurturing it. As adolescents grow, they observe and copy social cues from their surroundings, and all these small, repeated interactions contribute to the development (or lack thereof) of empathy.

Seeing and feeling empathy is a start.

It’s all too common to care about someone, but do nothing to help them. Getting involved in charity eliminates this empathy-action gap because it’s an environment that is built on empathy.

And empathy can be the foundation for a successful path in life.

Danielle Herschitz

Charity as an Educational Pathway

The impact of charity doesn’t end at personal and emotional growth–it extends into education.

Another study found that students who volunteered had better academic performance and found it to be an enriching activity. It’s an outlet to exhibit skills, or to learn skills that can be applied in the future.
While volunteering is mostly for personal fulfillment or the benefit of the community, it’s also a way to gain an advantage in college admissions or scholarships.

As adolescents transition from educational institutions to the professional world, past involvement in charity continues to open up more paths, and skills cultivated during volunteering become assets sought after in the job market.

Being Involved is an Edge in Employment

Just as volunteering can be a boon during applying for higher education, it can also be an advantage as one embarks on their career journey.

Volunteering hones skills that aren’t emphasized in the classroom, skills that are highly valued in the professional world like communication, teamwork, and time management. In a phenomenon dubbed “experience inflation,” entry level jobs are no longer entry level. They require years of experience to qualify, and most fresh graduates don’t have that–unless they’ve put the time in volunteering.

Skills learned through volunteering in a related field easily transfer over to a job, and employers do consider it, boosting the likelihood of landing a job by 27%.

Due to the interconnection of empathy with education and professional success, charity involvement serves as a catalyst for teens’ growth and development.

Through volunteering, teenagers not only expand their empathy, but also live a rich academic life, and set the stage for a successful professional journey.

Inspiring Passion and Providing Insight Into Future Career Pathways For Teens

Danielle Herschitz

Between the countless parenting books, timeless coming-of-age stories, any modern movie about high schoolers, and “hard facts” from developmental psychology, it’s clear that being a teenager is tough. But what tools and advice might help guide their decisions about the future?

When considering future career options, the self-discovery and experimentation that characterize the teen years can be a valuable guiding resource. Searching for jobs and extracurriculars that fit their talents, interests and personality type can help teens narrow their career options and begin building a resume for future interviews and applications.

Danielle Herschitz explores some ways for teens and their supporters to start exploring the need for a future career without getting overwhelmed at the many possibilities.

Building a Base of Self-Knowledge

Under ideal conditions, everyone would be able to find and pursue a career that feels less like a money-earning chore than like a fulfilling vocation. While not everyone will have the good fortune of finding this fulfillment, encouraging children and adolescents to explore potential career options from a young age can help them envision a future worth working towards.

A good starting point for teens trying to narrow down their potential career paths is to figure out what types of activities they enjoy, what interests them and where their values lie. Online personality tests can help teens identify their strengths and begin to consider which professions might be the most compatible with their personality type.

For example, someone whose test reflects a deep concern for the well-being of others might consider a career in nursing or teaching. On the other hand, someone whose test results suggest a high level of introversion might consider steering away from jobs that involve a lot of personal interactions and public speaking.

With a clear personal goal in mind, students are more likely to view their education as a steppingstone toward a future career and to invest themselves in their schoolwork more fully. Engaging in enjoyable extracurricular activities can also help them become more involved with topics that interest them.

Participating in these activities has many potential benefits. While helping teens build soft skills as they make connections with those who share their interests, extracurriculars can also help them identify role models to use as a source of inspiration and guidance.

Resume-Building and Gaining Experience

To be considered for most positions, it’s important for candidates to have a professional resume listing their skills, involvements, achievements, and prior experience. While it may seem silly to include things like middle school student council or high school theater club, they may work in an applicant’s favor by showing dedication or a specific area of interest or prior instruction.

Here are a few simple ways to boost a resume before even entering the job market:

  • Volunteer
  • Join or start a club
  • Get an apprenticeship
  • Get an internship
  • Babysit

Although having a rounded resume can help attract a potential employer’s attention, even “unofficial” experiences can be highly beneficial. Talking to a relative or family friend about their work, shadowing a parent in the office or exploring the responsibilities and training involved in a job online can make what may seem like a far-off future feel more within reach.

Danielle Herschitz

Finding and Using Available Resources

In addition to individual research, there are many counseling resources and prep programs that teens can turn to for guidance. Many high schools have counselors who work specifically to prepare students for college and assist in the application process. Some schools also offer workshops on creating resumes and cover letters, as well as interview preparation guidance.

School counselors may also organize college or career fairs, which make it easy to compare options, ask questions and interact with recruiters and representatives.

For teens whose career paths don’t require college education, getting an apprenticeship is a great way to build connections and gain experience while learning and training alongside professionals.


While finding a career path is almost never easy, the sooner teens begin exploring their options, the better equipped they will be when the time comes to make important future-oriented decisions. Observing and following their natural interests and values can be an easy way for teens to start narrowing their choices to find which profession might be the best match for them.

Promoting Physical Health And Wellness In Young Teens

Danielle Herschitz

The teenage years are a tumultuous time.

Physical and emotional changes come quickly as the result of puberty — growth spurts, body hair, acne, and new types of feelings that can be confusing and difficult.

That’s why promoting wellness and physical health in young teens is so essential. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just 24% of those between the ages of 6 and 17 get the recommended 60 minutes of daily moderate to vigorous physical activity.

Those who are primarily physically inactive drastically increase the risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. It even increases the risk of developing cancer, including breast, lung, and colon cancers.

Danielle Herschitz discusses more below on how to make sure young teens get the right amount of physical activity they need to thrive — and the role wellness plays in proper development.

The Importance of Physical Health

Being physically active should be a priority for all ages, but it’s especially essential for pre-teens and teenagers.

The goal is to encourage some form of physical activity every day. Physically, it helps teens maintain healthy weights, reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and helps them develop strong bones and muscles and a good posture.

It boosts a teenager’s immune system and sets them on a path to proper lung and cardiovascular health.

There are benefits to a teen’s well-being and mental health as well. Promoting physical activity helps improve memory, breaks up long stretches of sitting, helps young teens develop skills such as self-confidence, and reduces stress and anxiety.

Practicing good physical health and wellness strategies also improves social skills at a time when children are particularly vulnerable.

The Road to Physical Wellness

There are many different ways to be a physical wellness mentor for teenagers. Step one: eschew a tendency to sedentary behavior.

Simply getting teens to move more is key. Any type of movement helps but sustained physical activity, even just at a moderate level, goes a long way to help a teenager’s well-being. A focus on exercising that involves light weight training helps teenagers build muscle and maintain healthy bones, even just two to three times a week.

Instilling the importance of physical activity early on can counteract the impact of lower metabolism as we age. As we get older, fewer calories are burned as they used to, and foods are broken down differently. Lean muscle is lost quickly unless exercise stays a priority.

Danielle Herschitz

Making Better Choices

A big part of promoting wellness at any age is committing to eating a healthy diet.

Food choices become food habits around the pre-teen years. Along with exercise, healthy eating is one of the best ways to prevent certain health problems and diseases.

While official diet guidelines often go through changes every few years, the common advice includes limiting the intake of added sugars, avoiding high amounts of high-calorie solid fats, and limiting salt, such as the kind found in highly processed foods.

And Don’t Forget Sleep

Teenagers are often criticized for sleeping too much — but getting the right amount of sleep is vital for teens to maintain good physical health.

Teenagers need somewhere between 8 to 10 hours of sleep every night to be at their best and it’s best to keep regular sleep patterns, such as going to bed and getting up at about the same times every day of the week.