• Chloe Meyer

To Volunteer or Not Volunteer? -Study Break

Volunteering is something you've probably done at one point or another and you may even be required to do it, but what is the point? Obviously, you are helping whatever organization and those who benefit from it, but you're busy and don't have a lot of free time, so is it okay if you just skip it? NO! While you can't do everything all the time you should try your very hardest to volunteer whenever possible, even if it's sporadic. Why? because not only are you helping out your community but you're also helping yourself! So what are the potential benefits of volunteering? The first and most obvious benefit is helping others, whether it is the homeless, elderly, children, animals, or whole families, you are single-handedly making a noticeable difference in your community. This spreading of love and kindness will not only make those your helping feel good, but it will make you feel pretty good too!

Another great aspect about volunteering is it creates a gateway to connections with respected members of your community. If you are planning to go to college you may need letters of recommendation not only for your college applications but also for scholarships (because let's face it - college is expensive!).If you are active with an organization and provide value through your volunteer efforts, most organizations will agree to provide a reference letter speaking to that first-hand experience of your work ethic. Most community non-profits you can help at are small so you will be able to create fantastic bonds with those you work with, which will give you a springboard when applying for pretty much anything. Volunteering also provides you with work experience in a field you are interested in. Many jobs want someone who is already familiar with the field and has some kind of experience, and that's where volunteering comes in. Otherwise, you might find yourself in a catch 22 where you need the experience to get a job BUT you need a job to get experience (lol read that again because I know it's a little mind-bending). However, volunteering is the way for you to get that experience so you don't get stuck in that scenario. So now you know why you should volunteer but how the heck do you get started? If you have absolutely no clue about what organizations have volunteer opportunities then you can click here to see a list of some organizations that need volunteers. If you don't see anything that appeals to you, there are certainly always more places that need help, and would love to have you. Once you find an organization that sounds interesting to you go ahead and reach out to them either through a form on their website or by sending an email. Make sure when you are scheduling yourself that you leave enough time for homework, sports, clubs, and rest. While volunteering is great you shouldn't let it negatively affect your grades or extracurricular obligations. Be realistic, maybe you can only help out once a month, or less. Whatever time you have to commit will be appreciated and rewarded. I wish you the best of luck on your journey to becoming a volunteer and as always if you have any questions for me (your friendly neighborhood CONECT Intern) about volunteering, applying for college, or anything else you can think of (if I don't have the answer I will find you someone who does) don't hesitate to send me an email at harfordconect@harfordchamber.org




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