10 Good Reasons Why EVERY Kid Should Volunteer
You’ll find that incorporating service into your life can definitely be habit-forming – in a very good way!
But as you consider volunteer options, look for opportunities that fit you – your interests and skills. You can be deeply involved in a one-time event or you can sign-on for a couple of hours each week. And by sharing your time and talent with others, you:
- Do some good. As a volunteer, you have the opportunity to make a difference – change lives, support a cause, or improve your community.
- Test-drive career options. If you think you want to go into medicine, teaching, or even large animal husbandry, spend volunteer hours in a clinic, a school or on a farm. Volunteering opens new vistas and provides an opportunity to explore different career paths.
- Polish job-readiness skills. Being dependable, on time, and responsible will not only make you a great volunteer but also prepare you for entering the world of work. In addition, you can develop communication, organization, and invaluable “people” skills, all of which are valued by employers.
- Expand your network. Volunteering is a great way to make new friends and build solid connections to businesses, schools, or other community-based organizations. These are the kinds of relationships that tend to grow and blossom, particularly if you find yourself working in a team or supporting a cause. A byproduct of the experience can be a strong personal recommendation for college or a future job.
- Challenge your comfort zone. If life as a student has become a little too boring and predictable, try volunteering in a totally unfamiliar part of your community or serving a population with which you don’t ordinarily come into contact. Expose yourself to new ideas, challenges and situations that will help you grow as a person.
- Hone leadership skills. As a volunteer, you may be presented with opportunities to build supervisory, management, or decision-making skills as a team leader or project organizer. These are talents that colleges and future employers value highly.
- Upgrade college portfolio. Yes, colleges want to see that you’ve done something more with your life than Facebooking. To volunteer is to give strong evidence of character, commitment, and motivation—all of which are plusses in the college admissions process.
- Discover an essay topic. The best college essays flow out of personal experience. In fact, essay questions often ask about significant achievements, events, people, or encounters—all of which may be found in the act of volunteering.
- Learn something. You learn by doing. And if you’re lucky, you may even be offered specific skill training, which you can take with you long after the event or project is completed.
- Do some good. This cannot be overstated. And in return, let volunteering do some good for you and your future! High school seniors are eligible to apply for volunteerism scholarships! The Volunteer Center Golden Heart Scholarship (open to any student showing significant volunteerism in their community) and United Way Volunteer Scholarship (open to any student who has volunteered with United Way or any United Way partners). Golden Heart Scholarship applications are accepted January 1 to March 1each calendar year. Click here to apply or view application.