VOLUNTEERING CAN HELP YOUR CAREER PATH
At first, being a volunteer might not have much appeal. After all, you give up your free time and have to work – sometimes very hard – and all without getting paid! But the benefits can easily outweigh the drawbacks.
VOLUNTEERING HELPS YOU:
Volunteering is a great way to learn about career options and develop job-related skills. You can learn about a particular role, sector, or a cause. Volunteering can also expose you to workplace and office culture.
Learn and improve basic skills like teamwork, communication, patience, and hard work. Volunteer projects can also teach specialized skills, such as public relations, gardening, or home construction. Volunteering can even help you discover new hobbies you were unaware of.
Never underestimate the power of networking. Volunteering improves your job opportunities. Meet new people so you will have more contacts when the time comes to look for a job.
Include volunteer experiences on job and scholarship applications to show your job-related skills, motivation and dedicated attitude.
Show your community what you care about. Whether you raise awareness about an issue, deliver meals to the homeless, or become a tour guide for a local historical organization, you can make a positive difference in your community.
Many organizations, such as government agencies and nonprofits, need volunteers to fill a variety of roles. Find a volunteer opportunity that you would enjoy. If you already know about organizations that need volunteer help, you can contact them directly. Friends and family can help you find volunteer opportunities as well. Cow Creek offers programs where they seek volunteers for a variety of activities throughout the year. Inquire with the Cow Creek Government Offices or Cow Creek Career Center program to find out how you can get involved!!!
for High School
Take some time this year to pause and reflect on what you’re thankful for. Now is the time, especially during the holiday season, to give thanks for everything great in your life.
Giving blood is an easy way to save lives. You’re giving away time and, obviously, blood, so we vote it counts for volunteer work, too. Can’t or don’t want to donate blood? You still can help organize and volunteer at local blood drives. Check out The Red Cross for more information on drives near you.
Can you think of a better way to give back than coaching kids? Everyone, at some point or another, had a coach and those that were great really impacted our lives. You can become one! Check out the following organizations who would love to have you join their team: • National Alliance for Youth Sports • Girls on the Run • YMCA
Imagine being in a country without knowing the language – where nobody else seems to know your native tongue. That’s what it’s like for millions of Americans whose second language is English. Make their transition to English easier by volunteering. You can learn more about teaching English as a second language (ESL) here.
There are so many organizations nationally that arrange mentoring relationships for children in need. If you’re interested in mentoring someone, check out the following programs, available nationwide: • Big Brothers, Big Sisters • National Mentor Partnership • National Mentoring Alliance • Experience Corps
There are endless organizations to volunteer for, whether your preference is adults or children, animals or humans, working with people or at events, there’s a right fit for you! Here are some popular organizations to consider when evaluating what type of volunteering is right for you: • Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals • DoSomething.org • ASPCA • Big Brothers, Big Sisters • The Red Cross • The Humane Society of the United States • Meals on Wheels Association of America • Volunteers of America How do you give back to your community?
for College Students
Being overwhelmingly busy is the nature of the college beast—it can be tough enough to find time for ourselves. But taking the time to do volunteer work is definitely worth the effort. Firstly, because helping other people is one of the best uses of our time—being kind is worth it for its own sake, plain and simple. But it also allows you to grow as a person, acquire perspective (which isn’t always easy) and—not for nothing—it looks pretty great on a resume. College may actually be the time when you can volunteer the most. It can be pretty difficult to find the time to volunteer when you’re working 40+ hours a week, particularly if you also have a family. So check out some of these ways that you can give back between classes and socializing.
This is perhaps the most obvious form of volunteering, and one of the most impactful. Whether your organization of choice is for animals, the environment, children, the homeless, veterans, those with Alzheimer’s, or whatever other cause interests you, charitable organizations are always looking for spare hands to help with events or even just around the office at local branches. Check out the websites of some national organizations to see how you can get involved, and make sure to check in with local groups, too—smaller organizations often need more regular hands-on help.
If you take a walk around campus, it can seem like there’s an event or fundraiser going on every day. They’re put on by student organizations, university offices, academic departments, or any number of other groups on campus. Whoever organized these types of events, the important thing is that it’s oftentimes students who are running them. If the English department is hosting a talk from a writer, then the department may ask some of its students to volunteer to set up the event or take tickets. The career center, when putting on a job fair, may need students checking people in or providing directions. Alumni events also frequently require student assistance and participation. Asking around at the different groups on campus and checking out bulletin boards in common spaces are surefire ways to get some leads for helping out with campus events.
College students can find various opportunities with the local youth. Big Brothers and Sisters is a common volunteer program on college campuses, and mentoring opportunities can often be found through your college or local schools. Working as a Girl Scout or Boy Scout leader is another great way to dedicate time to the community and share your talents with local kids, particularly if you’re the outdoorsy type. Places of worship also frequently need help with their scripture studies and youth programs, if that is an area of interest to you. These kinds of opportunities will give you a regular, scheduled activity that will make a big difference in kids’ lives and also provide a nice breather from your studies.
Election season is heating up, and it’ll stay heated until this time next year (and probably after that, too). Whichever side of the aisle your preferred candidate sits on, working on a political campaign is a unique and rewarding volunteer experience. Campaign fundraising goes a long way, but candidates need boots on the ground to knock on doors, distribute pamphlets, and encourage people to vote. (Fun fact: America’s voter turnout in 2016 was about 55.4 percent—which means there’s room for an almost 100 percent improvement rate in 2020.) This is a point in time that you can make a tangible difference in the 2020 outcome, as young voters come to represent more and more of the voting population. So check out the local campaign office for your favorite candidate to see what opportunities they have for you to be part of the political conversation.
Right now, you’re receiving an in-depth education on a subject that (hopefully) greatly interests you. This is an immense privilege, one that I hope you take the time to appreciate every now and again. Tutoring is an amazing way to share the knowledge you’ve gained with those who may need help learning it. All kinds of subjects can be tutored, from math to reading, and at locations from after-school programs at elementary schools to adult literacy programs. Tutoring programs are often held through your campus’ library, your local library, after-school programs, and privately—as in a parent seeking a tutor directly. Check out these resources, and see if your skills would be useful.
College campuses can be something of a bubble—it’s easy to forget that the campus sits within a larger community. Connecting with that larger community is an amazing way to give back, and there are so many ways to do so: volunteering at a soup kitchen or food bank, manning a table at a 5K downtown, organizing a trash-pickup effort in a park or alongside the highway, spending some time with the elderly at a nursing home, shelving books or reading at story time at the local library. Being a member of the campus community is important, but so is expanding your perspective to your town or city at large.
Alternative spring break is perhaps the pinnacle of college volunteering. It’s a program through which a group of students and professors spend their spring breaks working on a service project. Many colleges have programs like these, and even if yours doesn’t, there are independent programs that can sponsor your alternative spring break, too. As a bonus, many of these service programs require some kind of travel, sometimes internationally. Projects can include building low-income housing, disaster response efforts, and many more. Ask around campus to see if this is something your school offers, and look online to see what independent organizations you can spend a week with.
Finding time to volunteer can be a challenge, particularly in a time as hectic as college. But finding that time is so important, both to the people your efforts help and to your own personal growth. We’re just around the corner from Thanksgiving, you know—’tis the season for giving back.
TIPS for Families
ENCOURAGE STUDENTS TO MAKE THE MOST OF SUMMER BREAK
Summer break is a perfect opportunity for your students to gain experience through paid or volunteer jobs, internships and other summer activities — pursuits that can also demonstrate a student’s sense of responsibility to college admission officers. How can you help your students choose the most rewarding summer activities?
First, encourage students to talk to adults in their lives who can help them find activities that match their interests.
Next, share the following ideas and suggestions with your students as they begin the search for that perfect summer job or internship.
Ask your students, “If you could do anything this summer, what would it be?” For example, a student who enjoys the outdoors and hiking could look into working at a summer camp or national park.
Advise students to experience the careers they hope to pursue. They can start by calling businesses and organizations related to their chosen field about summer jobs or internships. Professionals in any career often go out of their way to help a motivated student, so even if they’re not hiring they may have suggestions.
During a job search, students may come across a potential employer — someone who inspires them or to whom they’d love to apprentice — who just can’t afford to hire them. One option is to offer to work for free. The job skills gained may be worth their weight in gold.
Motivated and mature students may find it rewarding to start their own small businesses. A bilingual student can advertise services as a language tutor, and a student with a green thumb can become an independent landscaper. Tell students to start lining up a few clients before the summer — and warn them that being your own boss can be hard work.
Doing something constructive with summer vacation doesn’t necessarily mean having a traditional job. Students who are really into performing or sports may want to devote their full-time energy to formally developing these skills. Encourage these students to look into special programs or summer learning programs.
Spending a summer pitching in at a local charity is a great way for students to learn about life and themselves. It can help them develop leadership skills that will last a lifetime. Students can volunteer and discover how to help others — while helping themselves.
Whatever students decide to do this summer — work, volunteer, intern or study — encourage them to read. Reading opens students’ minds and introduces them to other worlds while sharpening important skills such as comprehension and vocabulary. Before school lets out, challenge them to generate a list of summer reading based on recommendations from you, teachers and parents.
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