What is Volunteering?
You might hear the word volunteering get thrown around a lot, but what exactly does it mean? Well, volunteering is when someone dedicates their time and energy to better their community, without the need for compensation of any kind. There are many different types of volunteer opportunities available, ranging from picking up litter to helping out at food banks. Whatever the cause, volunteer work is essential to improving your community.
What are the Benefits of Volunteering?
Now, you may ask, why should I consider volunteering in my free time? There are countless benefits that volunteering brings, not only to your community but also to you. It helps bring members closer together and work towards a common goal of solving a community problem and creating a positive impact. Not only will your community benefit from your volunteer work, but you will also gain a sense of accomplishment from helping others, increase social skills, and learn valuable life skills. Volunteering can connect you with others around your community, and broaden your social network. Since you are all dedicated to the same cause and share similar interests, you’ll find it easier to bond and make lasting friendships. Volunteering can also provide you with a sense of fulfillment from helping others and your community, which is great for your mental health.
Many students choose to volunteer is to fulfill their service hour requirements. Typically around 50 volunteer hours are required to graduate high school. This is a way to challenge students to find solutions to problems in their communities. In addition to satisfying the volunteer requirement, volunteer work also looks great on college applications. Many college applicants are looking for ways to stand out, as competition is getting stiffer. Top colleges care about not only GPA and standardized testing scores, but also about extracurricular activities and community involvement. Colleges look for enriching experiences outside the classroom, and instances when students demonstrate leadership. By writing about volunteer experiences, one can showcase to colleges what they are passionate about and how they have dedicated time to forward that cause. Also, volunteering provides a chance to take on leadership positions and learn essential skills. If one is truly passionate about a cause/organization, earning a leadership position will be very beneficial and help drive impact. Colleges love leaders who show that they are confident and dedicated to a cause. Also having lots of volunteer experience helps a student come across as a good person who will contribute and help better their campus in the future.
Where do I start?
There are countless volunteering opportunities out there, but finding one that you enjoy and match your goals and interests can be difficult. Here is a list of both local and online volunteer opportunities that might interest you.
Local Volunteer opportunities:
Fire Station- help check equipment and restock supplies
Library- help sort and shelve books, assist people with locating books and answering their questions
Animal Shelter- watch the animals, assist in cleaning their cages and feed them
Trash cleanup- pick up trash and clean the designated area
Food banks- help sort/organize the food donations and help prepare/serve meals
Homeless shelters- help clean the living area, serve food, and talk to and counsel the homeless
Senior center- provide company for seniors and
Hospital- socialize with patients, help escort patients/visitors, restocking medical supplies, answering the phone
American Red Cross- help staff blood drives, teach people first aid/CPR, and aid local disaster relief squads
Local Parks- guide visitors around the park, assist with cleanup duties
Virtual Volunteer opportunities:
LearnToBe (https://www.learntobe.org/)- nonprofit that pairs volunteer tutors to students in underserved communities
CardsForaCause (https://cardsforacause.org/)- Write uplifting letters/cards to children that are going through tough times
Crisis text line (https://www.crisistextline.org/become-a-volunteer/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIlaeTrbGg7AIVEsDICh29qQAXEAAYAyAAEgLCAfD_BwE)- volunteers will council and aid people going through personal crises through the phone
Translators without borders (https://translatorswithoutborders.org/volunteer/)- volunteers will translate material that relate to humanitarian causes
Amnesty Decoders (https://decoders.amnesty.org/) - assist researchers in uncovering human rights violations by going through provided documents and images
United Nations Volunteers (https://www.onlinevolunteering.org/en)- volunteers can help with the UN with their COVID-19 response along with a variety of other initiatives
Distributed Proofreaders (https://www.pgdp.net/c/)- volunteers will proofread digitized text which will eventually get submitted to Project Gutenberg for publishing into free e-books
Smithsonian Digital Volunteers (https://transcription.si.edu/ )- Perfect if you are big into history! Smithsonian offers transcription jobs that make historical information more accessible to all
Furthermore, there are many awards and scholarships that you could win for volunteering. These awards will look great on college applications and resumes. Also scholarships are a great way to pay off that college tuition!
The President’s Volunteer Service Award- to earn the Gold award, 250+ hours are needed
The Prudential Spirit of Community Award
Do Something Awards- 5 people awarded $10,000 each, grand prize is $100,000
The Good Neighbor Award
Jefferson Awards for Public Service
Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heros
Comcast Leaders And Achievers Scholarships
Brower Youth Awards
Equitable Excellence Scholarship
Cameron Impact Scholarship
We hope that learning about the benefits of volunteering and getting involved in the community will ignite a passion for serving and making a positive difference in the community so that you can further your education and gain a feeling of gratification.
Let us know how we can help.
For more information, questions, or feedback, reach out to us! www.hifivetutoring.com