Are you a young person who's thinking about volunteering? There are many good reasons to get involved in volunteer and service learning opportunities. Here are a few to consider:
Volunteering can help you to explore your interests
Volunteering can be an opportunity to learn more about something you enjoy doing. If you like working with kids, get involved at a summer camp or help younger students with their schoolwork. If you like to cook, make dinner for the families at a soup kitchen or help out at a homeless shelter. Or if you enjoy playing sports, play games with the kids at a neighborhood center. Look for opportunities that allow you really explore areas that already interest you.
Meet people you might not ordinarily meet
By volunteering in a group, you'll meet other people with the same interests you have. If your grandparents have passed away or live far away and you don't get to see them often, you can become friends with a senior adult and adopt them as your "grandma" or "grandpa. By volunteering with an agency that helps refugees, you can meet people who have come here from other countries. You'll learn about their culture and help them adapt to life here.
Volunteer activities add value to college applications and work resumes
College admission staffs want to know who you are as a person. They're looking for well-rounded individuals who will give their best both within and outside the classroom. Potential employers want to know if you show up on time, can take direction, are responsible, and work well with others. A good reference from an agency you've volunteered with can help them decide that you'd be a good employee.
People who volunteer often say that they get more out of the experience than they give. Giving of your time and energy makes you feel good about yourself and raises your self-esteem. Working with other volunteers builds friendships.
You're sharing your talents and knowledge with others
You have skills, talents, knowledge, experience, personality and passion. Each of us is unique and has something to share with others.
You're advancing the common good
Sometimes we look at the way the world is and think, "This isn't the way things are supposed to be." By volunteering, you can help make a positive change in the world. Each of us wants to live in a community where families are healthy and strong, where children are given the help they need to succeed in school, where people with disabilities and the elderly are able to live as independently as possible, and where people live in safe, supportive neighborhoods. By volunteering, you help make your community a better place to live, and you become part of the solution.