By ESMS Intern, Deanna Simonsen
During the Holiday season people start to think about the many benefits of giving back. This can be volunteering your time, money or gifts. If you have ever considered doing community service there is no better time than now to start! There are many different ways that you can get involved with your community.
Volunteering and community service is actually beneficial for your health. People who volunteer have lower rates of depression later in life compared to those that do not volunteer, mortality rates are even lower for those who volunteer. Depending on the type of volunteering there can be physical and social benefits as well.
Many people think that they are too busy to volunteer, but it doesn’t have to be time consuming. Take a few days or even just a day every month to volunteer for a few hours. If this is still not an option consider monetary donations or collecting non-perishables for your local food cupboard. Do a little research on the local organizations in your community. Many of these places will have “wish lists” of things they need. Each time you go to the grocery store pick up a few items on one of these lists to take to a local organization. These organizations will be extremely grateful even if it doesn’t seem like a lot.
It is also very important to get the entire family involved in volunteering. It is very important for children and teenagers to understand the benefits and importance of giving back to their community. It teaches them social responsibility and exposes them to diversity. They have the chance to develop and improve their communication skills as well as critical thinking skills. It is real world situations that school does not prepare them to experience. They can develop an appreciation for everything that they have.
There are even college admissions benefits to volunteering that teens should consider. Volunteering looks very good on college applications and resumes. It shows that you are able to go above and beyond what the typical person does. It is even a good topic for college essays.
Volunteering also opens up new doors and opportunities. It gives you the chance to find what you are passionate about. It is also a chance to create life long friendships with people who you otherwise would not have met.
If you aren’t sure where to begin or what type of volunteering you would like to be a part of do some research on local organizations in your community. There are even organizations dedicated to different types of community service such as Rotary International. We often forget how lucky we are for all that we have; community service is a great way to make you appreciate the little things in life. It gives you a chance to step into someone else’s shoes and make their life a little better. A few hours of service could be enough to change someone else’s view on life. Not only will you feel good about yourself, but you will make others feel good as well.