When thinking about community service the first thing that pops into my head is someone volunteering at a soup kitchen or handing out food and clothes to the homeless. I didn’t realize how many other options there are for volunteering. Many people find that they aren’t able to volunteer due to their lack of free time, they are unable to commit a couple of hours at a time to do hands on work, this is the same situation I had when coming up with some type of volunteer work for this class. With very little free time I wasn’t sure how I was going to complete my work until I saw that I could virtually volunteer! I chose to knit hats for newborns and it has been a great experience, I am able to work on hats at night when I get home from work or take my project with me on the go. It warms my heart knowing that newborn babies will have hats that I hand made and that a family could keep the hat to pass down to another newborn.
One of the biggest struggles I have come across with working on my project is time, it is what I struggled with at the beginning and all the way through. There just isn’t enough time as I would like to spend on my hats and this is also a barrier to volunteering other individuals have faced as well. There are many other options for community service then the ones that are generally thought of, and the benefits of volunteering are tremendous. Many people prefer to donate money instead of time for organizations that are seeking help, and although this is great to help fund the needs of an organization there is still a lack of committed volunteers to do hands on work.
Several research studies report that individuals repeatedly identify a “lack of time” as the number one barrier or obstacle to volunteering. Most reporting that they are too busy or have too little time to volunteer. In todays society people feel an increased pressure for their time, saying they don’t have enough hours in a day or week to do all the things they must/want to do, thus cutting out the idea of taking their own time to help someone else in need. For those who want to help out a cause but are unable to because of their lack of free time they see it fit to donate money instead. Although this is great for organizations to help buy the supplies they may need, there is still a lack of present volunteers able to help.
For a college student there are several academic benefits that come from hands on volunteering, giving back to your community is valuable in itself but it can also help you learn more about yourself and possibly put you on a path to your future career. You experience the real world through hands on work and are able to explore your major or career interests at the same time. It is also a great way to network for your future, meeting all sorts of different people and opening up the ways you see the world in different peoples eyes you might meet or work with volunteering. Not only does doing hands on work show a college your interests and character but also the value you’ll bring to their campus community.
Hands on volunteering doesn’t just benefit college students, it benefits anyone who participates. Some call volunteering “The Gift that Keeps on Giving”, the people and the organizations you help are not the only ones who benefit but you are rewarded too, with a new outlook on life, appreciation for what you have, new learned skills and better health. Many people forget that volunteering can be done right in their community, this is a great way to get involved others from your town who are trying to make a difference too, it is also a great way to meet new people and
make new friends!
“World Volunteer Web: Benefits of Volunteering.” World Volunteer Web: Benefits of Volunteering. Web. 09 Mar. 2016.
This article does a great job of explaining several different ways an individual can benefit from volunteering, explaining what you can learn, experience and gain from volunteering hands on. It gives examples as well ways you can get involved and how you may benefit from that volunteer experience. The article also gives the reader statistics showing that an employer was more likely to hire an individual with volunteer experience and that 94% of employees who had volunteered and gained new skills by doing so, benefitted by getting their first job, promotion or higher salary. I believe this article is good for my research question because it goes into detail the benefits one might receive from volunteering and details on how to get involved, also giving some statistical information on the benefits someone may receive from their employer because they had volunteered.
“Volunteer Opportunities.” The Benefits of Volunteering. Web. 09 Mar. 2016.
Like the first article, this one also goes into detail on ways one might benefit from volunteering, but it goes into further detail by breaking it down into age groups. Explaining the benefits that a teenager might receive for volunteering, for example resume building, gaining experience and career opportunities, compared to an older individual who could benefit from the physical activity, meeting new people from their own community as well as learning new skills they can use around the house. Again this article was great for my question, showing the different ways to get involved and the ways different individuals may benefit from volunteering.
“Giving to Charity: Time vs. Money.” Gen X Finance. Web. 09 Mar. 2016.
This article is a little different than my others, comparing donating money to a charity, to hands on volunteering. It talks about how both are great and much needed, without money or funds a lot of the charities or organizations wouldn’t be able to run but they also wouldn’t be able to run without volunteers. Many people are tight on time and choose to donate money due to their lack of free time to spend helping, while others may be tight on money and can choose to donate their time instead. The article also goes to talk about how rewarding it is for a volunteer to see the difference they are making in someone else’s life and how they are benefitting from your time you put into volunteering. Also talking about how you don’t have to work with the direct public to volunteer, using your skills in an indirect way to help an organization out, for example someone with a background in technology could use their skills to help a local organization create a website. I really liked this article for my question because it showed that you can volunteer directly or behind the scenes and both are just as important as well as donating money.
These are a few ways to find volunteer opportunities if you are unsure of what you want to do or where to get started looking. You are able to put in your zip code and keywords to narrow down your search to find the perfect volunteer opportunity close to home, you are also able to narrow your search even more by putting in when you are available, what you would like to do and who you would like to serve. There is also a short description saying the age requirements, if it is hands on, what organization it is for, the time and day it takes place and even how far away it is from your town!