Volunteering and Community Involvement

Volunteering is a fulfilling experience. Many people do not take the opportunity to pursue volunteer pursuits for a variety of reasons. In fact, for most people, it is a time-consuming endeavor. Personally, I began my volunteer experience while I was a high school student as a reading tutor for elementary students. Ever since that first volunteering experience, I pursued any volunteer opportunity available to me – from helping Somalian students with homework to being a Big Brother to a fourth grade student.
So why should we volunteer? Why should we involve ourselves in an experience that does not have any financial value, is time-consuming and the motives are generally negative and wrong? The answer is clear: We should volunteer to support the general welfare of our communities and world. First, we should volunteer so we can garner the benefits through community involvement. Volunteering is not just a fulfilling experience – it is a chance for an individual to be a part of their community.
Community involvement is a great way to build a resume and volunteer positions can be a great form of on-the-job training. Many skills can be obtained through the wide variety of volunteer opportunities available. Another positive to volunteering is the chance to learn about the diverse communities in our society. Tolerance is bred through understanding. When we understand the different cultures in the communities around us, then we are able to accept the differences between us.

Also, a volunteer can bring their personal skills and enthusiasm to community sites, which in turn will positively impact other lives, as well as their own. However, some communities do not offer the unique diversity setting as a volunteering option; therefore a person must look to other positive qualities to volunteering. Another positive of volunteer work is the enhancement of education and development of a career network. One of the best ways to learn is through experience; as a result, volunteering is a great way to enhance skills.
There is no better way to gain knowledge than to work at an organization hand-picked to fit personal needs and interests. Many educational experiences cannot be taught in a classroom. Additionally, a career network can be established through volunteering. Networking is an incredibly important part of searching for jobs and building careers. Community involvement is one of the best ways to make connections and foster relationships that do just that. Not only will a network be formed, many people who volunteer at an organization are offered permanent positions.
If the volunteer is a student who recently graduated from college, this is an excellent way to start a career. However, if the lack of pay is a drawback; consider one more thing – variety. The variety of volunteer opportunities is endless. Volunteering can range from reading to non-English speaking children to building houses for the poor and disenfranchised. Natural disasters create many volunteer experiences in which an individual can travel to remote locations in order to clean up after a disaster, meanwhile creating relationships with a variety of people.
Long-lasting friendships are created through volunteering because each person values their rewarding work. Volunteers are surrounded with like-minded people and see the positive change they are making on their society and world. Although volunteering is not a paid position; it is evident that many life skills are gained from volunteering which wealth cannot provide. Yes, work without pay can be a hard thing to do. However, the experiences gained from volunteering should off-set that disadvantage.
From community involvement to development of a career network, it is clear that volunteering is a fulfilling experience. Creating long-lasting friendships, traveling to remote locations and seeing the fruits of your labor are additional reasons why volunteering is something to consider. The volunteer opportunites are endless as long as the personal motives are positive and good. As Mahatma Gandhi said: “Be the change you want to see in the world” – be that change.

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