Community service is a selfless act of kindness undertaken by volunteers to improve their neighborhood. It is generally intended to promote good fellowship. Volunteering also promotes skill development, socialization, allows one to make contacts for possible employment, and to test-the-waters before selecting a field of further study. While some volunteers might receive specific training in the areas they plan to pursue as a career, such as medicine, education or emergency rescue, others serve their community on an as-needed basis, such as in response to a natural disaster or helping out at a retirement home or animal shelter.
People have the option to volunteer as much of their own time as they are willing, still allowing them to remain focused on their personal lives. Young people are encouraged to volunteer not only to gain life experience but also for character building. Another incentive to become involved in community service is to include the capability gained in the motivational letter required for admission to a university or college. It is recommended that students volunteer in subjects and projects that they have an interest in. Students could volunteer at soup kitchens, museums, retirement homes, and school development projects, such as establishing extra mural workshops in horticulture, photography, amateur dramatics, and journalism or coaching scholars in starting a small business.
What a volunteer puts into their volunteering experiences will show immensely in their character. Most people have toiled with the notion of wanting to find some way to give back to their community, and help those who cannot help themselves. Those in this situation have been able to have discussions with people who may benefit from some guidance, brightening up their day and making them smile. Others have volunteered their time at a hospital and aided the elderly, having conversations with them and listening to stories of a time long ago. Volunteers can also help out pre-schools by reading to children or teaching them crafts.
One of the easiest things about volunteering is getting involved. There are countless organizations and charities that are always looking for an extra person to make a difference in someone’s life. Here are some ideas: Volunteer to do office work at a local non-profit agency; set up a web page for them. Share a talent through teaching a class. Help township resident’s paint and repair their homes. Make maps of local parks, libraries or historic sites. Adopt a pothole and raise funds to repair it. Help fix a run-down public playground. Identify corners where bushes and trees make it difficult for drivers to see. Create a campaign to encourage biking and walking. Volunteer at an animal shelter; help clean up and play with the animals. Become a foster pet-owner; some animal shelters have temporary foster care programs — you take care of a pet until they can find a permanent home for it.
Words by Theresa Lutge-Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org)