Common Barriers in Volunteering
When this big transition takes place in your life, college volunteering may feel like it has its barriers. With classes, clubs, sports teams, art projects, and paying jobs being a priority, it is easy for volunteering to suddenly take a back seat on your schedule. At Habitat for Humanity, we empathize with college being a fantastic but sometimes overwhelming or stressful time with many new changes. You may not have access to transportation off-campus or know where to even start. We encourage you to look at the big picture and learn more about the benefits of volunteering.
Importance of Community Services
Community service for students and college volunteering helps students to acquire knowledge, life skills and provide service to people who need it most. Community service and volunteering for college students give young people the opportunity to become active members in their communities, creating a positive societal impact. Habitat for Humanity is excited to share some of the many benefits of community service for students.
Because volunteering engages students directly with a community, it allows for a special bond with those people or organizations being served. Community service for students increases social awareness and responsibility as well. By committing to a project or activity with others, college volunteering helps to build and strengthen relationships and make new friendships. Your social, professional, and support network is bound to grow, introducing you to so many new people who care about the same things as you!
By helping others, you will also decrease stress and depression. One of the major risk factors for depression is social isolation. College volunteering helps you feel better about yourself and increase overall satisfaction in your life by helping others and staying in regular contact with others. Volunteer work with animals and pets has also been shown to reduce stress and anxiety and boost your mood.
Are you shy, or do you have a difficult time meeting new people? Thankfully, volunteering gives people, outgoing or not, the opportunity to develop and practice social skills by meeting with people who share the same interests and goals. With college volunteering, you will become more comfortable with your fellow volunteers over time and boost your confidence levels too. Community service for students boosts self-confidence, self-esteem, and a sense of accomplishment. This newfound pride will have positive effects on your present and future.
While the benefits of community service for students include directly helping and making a difference in an organization and the lives of people you are serving, it will also make a difference in your career prospects. College volunteering helps students cognitively by enhancing their knowledge, growing from new experiences, and developing and improving interpersonal communication skills as well. You will gain new work-related skills through community service, a better sense of social responsibility, and make a positive impact on your community. To take service work to the next level professionally, consider exploring the fields of teaching, nursing, psychology, and more.
There are many mental benefits of volunteering, but there are physical benefits as well. Volunteering keeps you physically healthy and lessens symptoms or risks of chronic pain, depression, improves heart health, and more. Studies have shown that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate as well, and volunteering has many benefits to your physical and mental health at any age.
Advance Your Career
College volunteering can directly help you get experiences in your areas of interest and meet people in a professional field. Through things like teamwork, problem-solving, practicing communication and organizational skills, planning and managing projects, and more, you will be practicing skills learned and used in the workplace. Various volunteer opportunities provide additional training, such as volunteering for a shelter or working in a childcare environment. Volunteering can also allow you to hone skills you already possess and use them to benefit the greater good in your community as well.
Another importance of community service for students is to improve job prospects by boosting your resume. Studies have shown that volunteering is connected to greater odds of employment, and most employers are more likely to choose candidates with volunteering experience. College volunteering, and volunteering at any age, will not only boost your resume but help you to stand out professionally. Here are some ideas to help you get started and inspire you to find volunteering opportunities you may not have otherwise considered.
- Social Media
- Graphic Design
- Search Engine Optimization, or SEO
- Program Management
- Board Opportunities
- Events Management
By participating in college volunteering, it can be easier to escape from your day-to-day responsibilities or stressors. By exploring your interests while helping others, volunteering can be a meaningful way to stay relaxed, refreshed, and energized. We all need time away from work and obligations, and by taking a step back from worrying about yourself, you can make space to help yourself grow. It can be helpful to explore an environment of volunteering that differs from your professional or schoolwork, such as finding something to do outdoors rather than indoors or something that requires movement if you are typically stationary.
Volunteering with Limited Mobility
If you are living with disabilities or are lacking time or transportation, there are ways to volunteer over the phone or computer as well! Things like phone banking, graphic design, writing, public relations work, and more can all be done from your home environment. If this option sounds ideal to you, check out organizations you are interested in to see what opportunities they offer.
Volunteering as a Team
While there are many benefits of community service for students, there are various benefits of volunteering with your family, friends, and loved ones. It may be challenging to find time in everyone’s schedules to coordinate volunteer work, but this is a great way to get to know organizations in your community and find resources or programs available to your family and friends. Volunteering with children is especially important because they are always looking up to adults for what to do and how to behave.
How to Get Involved
The main importance of community services is to give back to others. Because so many different organizations and initiatives exist, it is helpful to look at your interests and determine what would be beneficial in your community as well. There are many ways to give back, and here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Walk your neighbor’s dogs.
- Visit with an elderly neighbor.
- Help neighboring younger students with homework.
- Offer to grocery shop for an elderly neighbor or a neighbor living with different disabilities.
- Offer to provide free childcare to family, friends, or neighbors who need it.
- Start fundraising or donating to an organization you care about.
- Organize or participate in a food or clothing drive.
- Donate food, clothes, and/or toys.
Be the Change
Volunteering can benefit you as much as the organization you are volunteering at, and you are bound to build many new friendships, boost your social and professional skills, expand your social and professional network, improve your quality of life, and so much more. The importance of community services is greater now more than ever after a pandemic that has upended the lives of so many people worldwide. Whether you are new to this experience or not, your time is valuable and useful, and the benefits of community service for students are endless. Visit our website to learn more about how you can get started volunteering today!