Everyone’s schedule usually involves work and school and sometimes, if we’re lucky, we can include more of our social life. One thing I wish people would try to add in their life is volunteering. Volunteering doesn’t have to be your typical labor work like gardening, but it can be as simple as reading to young children, passing out fresh produce or cleaning after events. Volunteering is something everyone should experience in their lives at least once. There are so many benefits to volunteering. Sure, you might not get paid, but you get an amazing experience that money can’t buy.
Here are four benefits that will hopefully inspire you to get involved in your community!
1. It's an Opportunity for Self-Growth
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It gives us an opportunity to learn new things about ourselves, such as our likes, dislikes, weaknesses, strengths and so on. I used to volunteer at a hospital and my experiences helped me realize my weakness was communication. I was on the shy side, so it taught me to become more vocal.
My attitude and mindset in life have changed a lot. I’ve become more mature, curious, and positive. I wouldn’t be the person I am now if I hadn’t volunteered.
2. You Can Create or Build a Network
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We get to meet new people and build connections that can help us out in the future. I had a lot of opportunities open up for me because I connected with people who wanted to help me achieve my goals.
For example, I started helping my psychology professor with her research. Eventually, she and I got to know each other more. She learned that I wanted to become a registered nurse and decided to help me get community service hours by connecting me with someone who needed volunteers. Because of that, I was able to gain the health work experience that I desperately needed.
3. You Can Learn New Skills
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You will be surprised how much you can learn from volunteering. When you apply to work in any job position, it typically requires certain skills. The more skills you have, the more useful you are to an employer and that increases the likelihood of you being hired. Volunteering can serve as a platform to learn and practice new skills. One of my volunteer tasks would be measuring the blood pressure of community members. I’m not perfect at it, but I’m confident enough I can do an accurate reading. Volunteering gives me the chance to get better and improve on my skills.
4. You Help & Build Your Local Community
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Lastly, we are helping the community become a better place! We all live in a community, so we all have a role in it! When we all contribute, it helps the environment, others and ourselves in some way. For example, I used to be a peer health educator. I helped educate and inform my community about safer sex and options on pregnancy. This can help someone who might not have known about their options.
If you’re interested in volunteering, you as a student can check out csus.edu/cec! They have a volunteer mailing list you can link and are always looking to recruit volunteers for many community or campus events.