Debate club, jazz band rehearsal, soccer practice, and a myriad of other extra-curricular activities can quickly fill your schedule. With the addition of homework, family commitments, and basic necessities like eating and sleeping, you may feel as though you have little time to think. But if the opportunity to participate in volunteer work arises, consider it—seriously. Such pastimes benefit you as much as they benefit the individuals you assist. Here are five reasons to volunteer:
Volunteering is the right thing to do
Volunteering is, simply, the right thing to do. You do not need a particular religious orientation or specific motive to pursue volunteer work. If you are in a position to give of your time—and many of us are—that is all you must have to begin.
You can ease real needs
When our experience involves only our own neighborhoods, schools, and work environments, it is all too simple to lose sight of the needs that exist even in our own communities. Programs like the Red Cross and World Vision are at work all across the United States. Poverty is rampant in the most prosperous cities and states in America, so do not underestimate your volunteer prospects. Start small and nearby with organizations that are at work within your own area. Go overseas if and when the opportunity arises.
Volunteering provides you with real-life experience
Volunteerism exposes you to experiences and people you might never encounter otherwise. It is easy to develop a one-dimensional view of the world when the vast majority of our interactions are with one or two groups of individuals. Choosing to aid people from less affluent backgrounds will broaden your perspective and challenge you to become a better-rounded individual. Realizing firsthand what others lack will also provide you with a deeper appreciation of what you have. Plus, you may also learn useful skills—building, cooking, teaching, and so on—that will serve you well in college and beyond.
You can strengthen your college applications
Volunteer work reads very well on college applications. Higher education institutions wish to see that you have an outlook that transcends your immediate interests, and volunteer work demonstrates a readiness to go above and beyond what is strictly required of you. This is the type of student colleges and universities pursue—a person who will not just involve him- or herself in the community and reach out to those in need, but who will also work past the minimum standard in classes. But, as previously mentioned, take care to avoid allowing the practical benefits of this work to become your only rationale for volunteering.
Volunteering is enjoyable
Last, but certainly not least, volunteering can be fun! While it may initially be frightening or uncomfortable to go beyond your comfort zone, you may find that as you acclimate, helping other individuals will become second nature. Not only will you be improving people’s lives, you will also be enriching your life and building an outwardly focused lifestyle.