Volunteer Opportunities ‒ Self-Development and Future Prospects
Volunteer opportunities are activities where a person or a group provides services without any financial or social rewards. In return, volunteers get valuable knowledge in such specific areas as education, medicine, and emergency rescue.
Even though volunteering is not required by college apps, it is still an important area of your individual growth and may greatly help in showing the admission board that you care about the community.
It’s a chance to demonstrate to others that you are motivated to change the world and to spread kindness. To be successful and to choose the right volunteer opportunities, you should find something that relates to your interests, passions, and career plans. Think about the issues you’d like to solve and the ideas that are important.
Still don’t know where to volunteer or what project to choose? This article will answer all your questions!
Places where volunteer opportunities can be found
All of us have different backgrounds and characters: some find it difficult to go to a community center and talk to strangers. Others feel shy to ask for volunteer opportunities in their own school. Thus, we’ve made a list of the three most popular places to go to in search of community service.
There are tens of various student clubs in every school. The most popular volunteering clubs are the Key Club and Amnesty International. Join same-minded scholars, work on local programs, and make suggestions on improving the world around you.
In case there is no volunteering club at a local school, you can always start one! Sounds too complicated? Trust us; everything’s rather easy. There are many youngsters that are looking for a similar club but are too shy to start it. Be the one to engage schoolers and start volunteering activity in your local community.
The Internet is an inexhaustible source of ideas and resources. When you don’t know where to find volunteer opportunities and feel shy reaching others, there is always a chance to go online and pick one of the hundreds of community service websites. For example, dosomething.org engages people depending on their location and interests. Choose a category, communicate with others, and get involved in the projects you feel passionate about.
And if nothing appeals to you, there is always a chance to start your own website or blog, inviting friends and same-minded people to join the journey.
3. Community centers
If you value person-to-person communication, head straight to after-school centers and local organizations, which always have many volunteer opportunities. Visit places where you would potentially want to volunteer, ask them whether they take schoolers, and then make up your mind.
Such centers include daycare, nursing homes, animal shelters, and other places, where any assistance and help are necessary.
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Best places for volunteering
There are many places where your help is appreciated. That is why it becomes rather difficult to narrow the list and choose a place, which meets your passions and interests. We recommend choosing volunteer opportunities that match your personality because such duo will be most effective for everyone.
If you still wonder which community service to choose, read our offers below. We are sure that one of them will suit your needs and expectations.
Students who are interested in education and are willing to become teachers can volunteer in their own school or other educational establishments in the area.
Volunteer opportunities in this field include tutoring younger students or helping kids with homework and classes. There is also a chance to help with afterschool activities.
2. Nursing homes and hospitals
Nursing homes and hospitals are a great place for volunteering. Especially for those who are willing to become nurses, doctors, or other medical specialists. Considering your young age, most likely, you won’t be allowed to work with the patients directly.
However, there are still plenty of tasks that will be of great help: candy-stripers that deliver meals, change sheets, do data entry, and help around the office. But keep in mind that this community service is rather challenging because from time to time, you’ll have to face sick patients and their stressed relatives.
3. Shelters for animals
Schoolers, who love animals, are highly interested in working at animal shelters. However, very often, they have age restrictions, and most shelters don’t accept volunteers younger than 18.
This work may involve a huge range of activities, from playing with animals and walking dogs to bottle-feeding kittens. Remember that this community service is far from being glamorous: most of the time, you’ll need to help with cleaning.
4. Places of worship
If you are a religious student, places of worship may be one of the best volunteer opportunities. You may organize other volunteers, help with events, or run a food drive. You can also assist teachers at Sunday schools, which will additionally give you teaching experience.
5. Soup kitchens and food banks
Homeless shelters and food pantries are in a constant search for volunteers that could help prepare and serve meals. Some of them have age restrictions, and youngsters under 18 are not allowed to work directly with visitors and residents. However, you can help in the kitchen, preparing meals, and washing the dishes.
Contact the local coordinator for all the volunteer opportunities in the field. Working in food banks is a great option for students who are interested in cooking and working with people.
Depending on the museum type, this community service might be a good match for historians, artists, and other students, who are interested in museum life.
Here you can help with tours and workshops, assist curators, and work in the office. Some museums even offer internships, which is a great chance to learn whether you want to learn more about museums and choose them for your future career.
Library volunteer opportunities are a perfect choice for avid readers, writers, and book worms of all sorts. Thus, you can be around books any time you want.
Volunteer opportunities in this area may include shelving books, doing paperwork, working with patrons, and assisting librarians. There is no better place to read all your favorite books without purchasing them than to volunteer at a local library.
8. Non-profit organizations
Every community has several non-profit organizations that are dedicated to various topics—for example, housing projects, ecology protection, women’s organizations, and much more.
This volunteering type allows not only working in the community but also gaining work experience, improving lots of various skills, and meeting same-minded people. Working at a non-profit organization is a great choice for any student, and the only criteria are selecting the one, which advocates for the things that make your heart beat faster.
9. Beaches and parks
If you are an outdoor type and prefer staying in nature instead of being stuck at home, helping at beaches and local parks may be a great opportunity. Choose this volunteer opportunities if you are pursuing a career in engineering and environmental science, biology, geography, or related fields.
Many beaches and parks have programs where students can participate in and help the community. If you can’t find any, just start a beach cleanup and engage others to help a park nearby by planting trees.
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Finding the best volunteer opportunities
It doesn’t matter how general or specific your interests and passions are: there is always a community service nearby, which is able to fulfill those cravings. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, take part in local activities, and leave your comfort zone to make new friends and connections.
Being a volunteer under 18 may not be so glamorous as it is depicted in the movies, but you should always remember that such experience will help you to deepen your skills, help the community, and assist in understanding who you truly are.