Where to find community service opportunities
Schools are the most straightforward resource for students looking for community service options. At school, you will have the opportunity to participate in many student organizations dedicated to giving back to the community. In addition, schools typically have partnerships with many local organizations that take part in community service, such as Alternative Spring Break. Your school Counselor or Advisor may also be able to give you other resources that are involved with your personal interests.
Ask Around Your Neighborhood
There are often people right in our own backyards that are looking for help and support. Especially if you have elderly neighbors, you can frequently find opportunities to help out by asking people face-to-face if they need anything, or offering your services. Also, neighborhoods and cities often have resources for people who are looking for volunteers to post opportunities, so check with your local government or university for a volunteer directory that will have up to date community service opportunities.
In addition, you can also reach out to local organizations for volunteering opportunities. No matter where you live, there will always be people or groups looking for help; although, more populous areas will have a larger variety of opportunities. Some examples of community service organizations are local food banks, daycares, animal shelters, etc. You can apply through their website, email, or go in directly to ask about available positions.
If you already have ideas about what kind of community service you want to do, you can utilize volunteering matching websites such as volunteermatch.org, which can also help you to find opportunities that are remote or outside your town. These websites match you to opportunities tailored to your location, interests, available time commitment, and so much more.
Create your opportunities
If the above options are not suitable for you, you can always create your own community service opportunities. We have seen students send handmade goods to orphanages, or donate books to childcare centers throughout the year. When brainstorming what community service project or organization you want to start, narrow it down by asking yourself:
- What causes are you passionate about?
- Do you think these causes are urgent problems that people should focus on?
- What does your community lack
Through these three questions, you can discover your passions, your community’s needs, and their level of urgency. From here, you can either use one of the above options to find a relevant opportunity or use your new knowledge to create a new project that addresses your specific causes.
Examples of volunteering activities
Helping Senior Citizens
Helping senior citizens is always encouraged in the community. There are many activities you can combine with your interests for senior citizens. You can volunteer at senior living communities, senior centers, or hospitals. Some activity ideas to help you get started include running a book club, teaching computer skills, performing music, etc.
Students can also provide help to children and youths. You can organize fun and exciting activities, as well as more serious activities such as mentorships, to help children develop. Students interested in mentoring can work with local schools to arrange them. In addition to helping motivated and determined students, working with students who may be struggling or come from less fortunate backgrounds can also enrich their life experiences and guide them towards success.
Helping Around Your Neighborhood
Giving back to the local community, such as your neighborhood, can be valuable on applications. Depending on your skills, you can choose which activities you want to do. Helping your neighborhood can range from things like cleaning up your neighborhood, raking leaves or shoveling snow, organizing community events on weekends, or teaching a class at the community center, to raising funds for charity. An often underrepresented community in neighborhoods is the homeless population. Therefore, you can consider assisting them with food through food bank donations, working at soup kitchens, or fundraising. Soup kitchens and food pantries always need volunteers to prepare and serve food.
Serve the Global Community
This involves volunteering with an organization that promotes global equity and provides aid to people in need. Some organizations, such as the Red Cross, provide global aid in the form of disaster relief, medical care, and other humanitarian efforts. Students can get involved by volunteering their time with these organizations or by fundraising to support their efforts. Fundraising can involve hosting a bake-sale, performance, or selling art to gather community donations for the cause. Finally, educating others about global issues and how we can help support our global community is another powerful way to make a difference. By raising awareness and sharing information about global issues, students can inspire others to get involved and make a positive impact. This can involve organizing events, creating social media campaigns, or giving presentations at school or in the community.
Serve Mother Earth
Helping the Earth means helping animals and the environment. Students interested in animals can always volunteer at an animal shelter to help relocate and care for abandoned animals. Volunteers can do various tasks, such as walking dogs, feeding the animals, and cleaning cages. In addition to helping animals, you can help the Earth by participating in different organizations and volunteering to clean up and improve the environment. This can include activities like picking up trash in natural or communal spaces, and helping make people aware of what they can do to live more sustainably.
No matter what you choose to do for your community service projects, you’ll learn so much about the impact that we all have, even as individuals, on the world around us. These experiences will not only make your college applications stand out but will help you to become involved with your community and grow as a person.