Some of your peers are joining volunteer programs for the summer and on the weekends when school starts. Should you join, too?
If you’re on the fence about volunteering, you’re not alone. There are so many other things you can do with your time, and you know it. Being a student volunteer is a huge commitment, and you can’t really change your mind once you’ve taken on a project in a local center. What’s in it for you?
Here are some of the main reasons why volunteering is the best thing you can do if you have tons of free time.
1. Discover the Path to Your Dream Career
By now, you have an idea what kind of job you want for yourself in the future. You know the courses that you can take to lead to that job, and you’ve been dreaming about it for the last several years. But reading about your dream job and actually immersing yourself in the industry are two very different things. Being exposed to people that have been doing the job you want for yourself will help you make informed career decisions.
Teen volunteers help others in many ways. For instance, volunteering in a health care facility will help you accept the realities of the job you want in the future. You’ll learn how to handle patients and how to become immune to the scent and smell of antiseptic and blood. Even if you won’t be given much responsibility, you’ll get a feel of the industry and be wiser when it comes to making your career choices.
The same goes when you join an outreach group that deals with kids. Charitable institutions always need volunteers because they can’t afford to hire regular workers. You will learn what it really means to be patient with needy children, and how to use your talents to make things better for them. You’ll develop compassion for others, which is relevant for a career in the service industry.
2. Volunteering Opens Up More Opportunities
While the main thing you will get from your experience as a teen volunteer is the gratification of being able to help others, your volunteering experiences will look good on your college scholarship applications. Plus, you can always add your volunteer work experiences to your resume when you apply for your first job.
Right now, many organizations that award scholarships to deserving high school students are searching for the whole package. Good grades tell of the student’s intellectual capacity, while volunteer work experiences and extra-curricular activities tell of the student’s personality and well-roundedness. Students that are willing to share their time with the less fortunate and make a difference in someone else’ life stand out.
If you have no idea how to start, there are volunteer centers in every city. These government agencies match volunteering opportunities with interested teens. Expect to answer questions about your interests, which subjects you excel in and how much time you can spare. Some agencies also provide training before they refer students to other organizations that need student volunteers.
[messagebox title="Here are some volunteer sites you may want to check out:"]
- HandsOn Network / Points of Light Institute: http://www.handsonnetwork.org/
- generationOn: http://www.generationon.org/
- Do Something: http://www.dosomething.org/
- VolunteerMatch: http://www.volunteermatch.org/
- Youth Service America (YSA): http://www.ysa.org/
- America’s Natural and Cultural Resources Volunteer Portal: http://www.volunteer.gov/
- Corporation for National and Community Service: http://www.nationalservice.gov/[/messagebox]
Photo Courtesy of BIGSTOCK