In college, holistic growth is just as significant as academic growth. One way to do so is to participate in community service programs, which benefit both the giver and the receiver. It is also a way to meet new people and build a local network.
If you prefer working with children, then it is a good idea to help out in local elementary schools. Offer to tutor children after classes, or host friendly athletic matches between teams. Give music, language, sports, or other extracurricular lessons during summer. Drop by libraries to check if any ongoing programs need more human resources. There are several organizations which focus on helping out kids, so check your area for these opportunities.
For animal lovers, another option is to dedicate your volunteer time to animal shelters. Here, you will be tasked with various responsibilities which may include feeding, grooming, and even paperwork. Wildlife conservation organizations are also an excellent place to volunteer if you are passionate about exotic animals and the preservation of their species. Nature-oriented lessons and publicity is as just as significant an avenue for helping out the cause. The key is to determine and marry your strengths and passions.
If traveling is what sparks your interest, then volunteering abroad might be the way to go. You can help with building shelters, schools, or simple playgrounds for underprivileged children in developing countries. Partnering with programs such as ISV and Global Leadership Adventures will allow you to work more efficiently. It will also give you the chance to see the overall impact of your volunteer effort. The unique opportunity to experience a different way of living will affect your holistic growth. A local counterpart, should you be unable to travel abroad, is to be an ESL teacher to immigrants. This endeavor will expose you to a different culture and force you to interact in a foreign environment. While it may seem daunting, the ability to help ease children to adapt to an intimidating new place is definitely worth the challenge.
Aspiring doctors, nurses, or healthcare professionals also have a broad range of options when it comes to volunteering. Something as simple as donating blood already saves lives, so take it a step further by organizing a blood drive. Make sure to read up on requirements and guidelines. If necessary, partner with your local Red Cross or clinic volunteers to facilitate the event more smoothly. Encourage others to donate blood and allow them to share this information with other people. You can also volunteer in elderly homes and hospices. While the residents may not need further medical treatment, it is enough that you spend time with them and take a moment to realize that there are stories behind your future patients and clients. Try to host small events, but run it through the clinic staff first.
When you already have a cause that you feel passionate about – whether it is for women’s rights or against bullying in school – let your voice be heard. There are often local chapters for most organizations. If you can find one near you, then visit their office and offer your volunteer hours. You can also write directly to the organization and ask if there is anything you can do within your area. Remember that there are multiple organizations with possibly overlapping causes – do not limit your choices, but rather, expand them to find one that is best fit for you.
Volunteering gives a unique insight into how it is to work and prepares a student for the so-called real life. It is a way of giving back to others while also enriching one’s person.
Eliason, N. (2017, June 15). 20 Productivity Apps for College Students and Young Professionals. Retrieved April 1, 2019, from https://zapier.com/blog/college-student-productivity/
Hoo, F. S. (2013, December 13). Ideas (So Many Ideas!) for Fulfilling Your School’s Community Service Requirement. Retrieved April 1, 2019, from https://www.teenvogue.com/story/volunteer-community-service-opportunities
Sarikas, C. (2018, January 17). 129 Great Examples of Community Service Projects. Retrieved April 1, 2019, from https://blog.prepscholar.com/129-examples-of-community-service-projects