Benefits of Volunteering
Bored yet? One gratifying way to spend your time while school’s out is to volunteer. When you use your skills to benefit the world around you, you are bound to experience personal satisfaction and fulfillment. Devoting some of your down time to volunteerism also helps build long-term confidence and self-esteem. And just a couple of hours can make a huge difference in the life of someone in need! Volunteering can be a ton of fun when approached with a positive attitude. You can recruit your friends to help raise money by walking as a team for local fundraisers such as AIDS Walk - Baltimore, Autism Speaks, or the Baltimore Walk for Lupus. Or you can make new friends by volunteering at a school or retirement home. You can even plan a blow-out party to raise money and awareness for an organization that addresses a specific need in your community. The possibilities are endless!
Volunteering is also a great way to develop new skills and explore new interests. At school or at work, we are often limited by specific required assignments. Volunteering can be a great opportunity to use your mind, body and creativity to escape the everyday routine and create balance in your life. You might discover that you have a pristine color sense when you help to paint a community mural. Or you can explore your love of cooking while baking delicious dishes during an afternoon at a soup kitchen.
The life experiences and skill sets that are picked up from volunteering also look great on resumes! Whether you are helping to build homes or raising awareness through a local charity, volunteering teaches hands-on skills that can be applied to many professional settings. According to one survey of the 200 top businesses in the UK, 73% of employers said that they would hire an applicant with volunteer experience over an applicant without volunteer experience. Additionally, 94% of employees who volunteered said that volunteer experience had benefited them either by helping them get their first job, improving their salary, or being promoted. (World Volunteer Web, “Benefits of Volunteering”)
You can find out about volunteer activities by calling or emailing your local community association or a non-profit organization that addresses an issue you are concerned about. Many high schools and colleges also post lists of volunteer opportunities for interested community members.
Helpful links in Baltimore: http://www.jcsbaltimore.org/volunteer http://www.associated.org/page.aspx?id=239319 http://jvcbaltimore.org/