Students may think it’s not worth their time to get involved in the community because it doesn’t pay like a normal job would. However, there are several benefits of volunteering can give you that no other job can.
Read on to find out about all the benefits of community service for you, your personal fulfillment, and practical purposes like college applications!
What Is Community Service?
Community service can have a lot of positive effects on students, such as helping them to develop skills, making contacts, and allowing them to improve the quality of life of others.
You probably know some students in your school who choose to volunteer their free time through community service. There are many ways that you can do this, such as joining a non-profit organization, working with a church group, or you can choose a cause and create your own service project.
Volunteer work can range from the relatively simple, like helping coach the lacrosse team at your old junior high, to the much more complex, like starting a non-profit that helps settle new refugees in your area.
It allows students to learn more about their personal motivations, practice academic material outside of the context of the classroom and testing, develop critical thinking skills while solving real-world problems, and to think about problems and social issues in new ways.
This kind of experiential learning, or applying what you have learned in the classroom to the real world, has a lot of positive benefits for students apart from meeting a requirement to graduate. These include a better understanding of the value of teamwork, decision-making skills, development of leadership abilities, and the gain of practical skills.
For example, let’s imagine that as part of your school-required community service or service learning, you have decided to use the writing skills you developed in AP English to volunteer at a local non-profit that raises awareness of Alzheimer’s disease. As a strong writer, you may start out writing press releases for the charity. Immediately you would be developing a new skill: the ability to write for a targeted, non-academic audience. Working with a team, you would gain a better understanding of the importance of sharing information in a usable way. You might eventually expand your duties into other areas, such as managing the organization’s social media accounts, which would further develop your writing skills.
Additionally, you would be gaining a new perspective on your community and on what life is like for a group of people that is often overlooked: the terminally ill. This could change how you see the world and your role in it.
In fact, many students report that this kind of personal development is the most valuable part of a service learning projects.
Personal Development Benefits
First of all, many students learn about their personal strengths and weaknesses. When you are working on campaigns and projects and getting to see real-life results, you will get to know how your personal attributes and actions can make a difference. Many of these qualities are things that students can’t get good feedback on in the classroom. For example, students may learn that they have excellent skills in coping with a crisis or other stressful situation, or may learn that they find taking charge of a team to be a struggle. This kind of exposure to different situations can then teach students how to further develop skills that they have, and how to work on areas they struggle in.
In particular, students find that they are able to develop skills in leadership, communication, working well with a team, and finding solutions for problems.
Many students also find that community service makes them more aware of and interested in issues of social justice.
For example, if you spend your days going to school, playing sports, and doing homework, you will likely not spend a lot of time thinking about the problems that homeless people encounter.
On the other hand, if you are working every day at a homeless shelter, you will have a chance to dispel stereotypes about why people become homeless while also learning about the unique challenges that homeless people face in getting off the streets. Many homeless people face prejudice that makes returning to work and earning a self-supporting living more difficult than it is for non-homeless people.
Once people learn more about struggles and injustices that other groups of people face, they are statistically more likely to want to actively take part in making a change in the policies and social structures that keep certain groups from succeeding. This change can take many forms, such as active campaigning, voting in elections, and continuing to volunteer time to important causes.
Numerous studies over the past several years have shown that volunteering isn’t just good for your mind and conscience; it’s also good for your body. By focusing on others’ problems instead of their own, students have reported reduced stress, and overall improvement in mood and health.
Researchers at the London School of Economics and Political Science found a link between self-reported levels of good health and happiness and formal volunteer work. Furthermore, a study by United Health Group says that 76% of people who have volunteered in the past twelve months say that volunteering has made them feel happier, and 94% of people report that it improves their mood. 78% of volunteers say that it has lowered their stress levels.
Volunteering can also help protect people from depression during challenging times, as it tends to help create a strong support system for participants. Volunteering also keeps people physically healthy by keeping them active. Certain activities, such as working to clean up a park or a beach, can be good exercise. Studies have shown that especially as people get older, volunteering in these kinds of projects can keep people healthy and can even lessen the symptoms of certain diseases.
Volunteers are responsible for many things that we take for granted. When hurricanes hit the south coast or wildfires burn up California, volunteers are critical in helping victims get re-settled, fed, and back to their "normal" lives as quickly as possible. Without volunteers, many of our country’s elderly would not be able to get food. Our parks and beaches would be much dirtier. Our children would struggle more without the help of volunteer tutors and mentors.
The TOP activities performed included raising money for important causes; collecting, preparing, and giving out food to people who need it; providing labor and transportation; tutoring and mentoring youth; and lending professional expertise.
The knowledge that they are making a real difference also affects student volunteers on a more personal level. When students know their work is helping someone, they show increased rates of self-esteem. Furthermore, students who volunteer are more likely to become actively involved citizens who take a strong interest in current events and local affairs, and are much more likely to vote.
Apart from helping out your community here and now, you’ll also be helping out your future self.
The truth is that it’s one of the most popular extracurricular activities that students list on their college applications. And while colleges don’t necessarily expect students to have spent all their free time volunteering, schools (especially the more competitive ones) will usually notice a total lack of community service.
Colleges like seeing that students have done community service. Keep in mind that most universities want to admit students who are actively involved in activities that better themselves, and eventually, will better the world. Students who have been actively involved in community service in high school show colleges that they will be the type of student who will be actively involved in making the college community a better place to be. Eventually, that they will be the kind of people who care about changing the world.
On a more practical level, the personal benefits and development that you will get from volunteering can be great TOPic matter for a college application essay.
The people you work with on community service projects will be good people to turn to when the time comes for letters of recommendation. They’ll be able to speak to your leadership abilities, passion, and character. Finally, doing this kind of work shows prospective schools that you can balance activities with your schoolwork and that you have good time management.
Did you know that employers love volunteers?
TimeBank, a UK-based volunteering charity, and Reed, a recruitment company, partnered to create a study on how employers think about volunteer work.
The study also showed that half of the employees surveyed thought that their volunteer experience had helped them land their job, and up to 20% of employees thought that their volunteer experience helped them gain key skills in communication, leadership, and time management that were important to their jobs.
As you can see, there are a lot of ways that your community service work will help you down the road once you start work, beginning with what you choose to do.
Volunteering is a great way to explore different interests. High school students who do community service can try different kinds of work and work environments that they otherwise would likely not be exposed to at such a young age. Most paying jobs that high school students are eligible for – such as working in fast food – are not the most interesting. But volunteering can give you a chance to try things that you will be interested in as a career, such as working in social media, organizing events, or working in a specific type of institution such as a hospital.
The experiences that you gain will also look great on your resume. Future employers will likely be much more interested in hearing about a fundraiser that you ran than they will be in hearing about your burger flipping skills. Why? A lot of the personal development benefits discussed above, such as leadership skills and the ability to collaborate with a team, are things that translate well to many jobs and workplaces.
Networking is another major benefit of volunteering. As a volunteer, you will be very likely to meet like-minded inpiduals who share your interests. In the future, these people can be important contacts for writing letters of recommendation and for putting you in touch with the right people for scholarships and jobs.
Now that you know that community service is an extracurricular that will help you out in your personal life, as well as in high school, college, and your professional life, what are you waiting for?
get involved in the community： 融入社区
your personal fulfillment, and practical purposes ：个人收获、务实的目的
helping them to develop skills, making contacts, and allowing them to improve the quality of life of others：帮助他们培养技能、打造联系、提升其他人的生活水平
joining a non-profit organization, working with a church group, or you can choose a cause and create your own service project：
helping coach the football team at your old junior high：帮助练习你初中母校的橄榄球队
starting a non-profit that helps settle new refugees ：
personal motivations, practice academic material outside of the context of the classroom and testing, develop critical thinking skills ：
solving real-world problems：解决现实问题
think about problems and social issues in new ways：用新的方法考虑这类问题和社会问题
understanding of the value of teamwork, decision-making skills, development of leadership abilities, and the gain of practical skills：
raises awareness of Alzheimer’s disease：提升对老年痴呆的意识
writing press releases ：写新闻稿
write for a targeted, non-academic audience：
gain a better understanding of the importance of sharing information ：
expand your duties into ：把责任拓展到
managing the organization’s social media accounts：
gaining a new perspective on your community ：
personal development ：个人进步
most valuable part of ：最有价值的部分
personal strengths and weaknesses：个人优势和弊端
working on campaigns and projects and getting to see real-life results：
make a difference:改变
get good feedback ：获得反馈
coping with a crisis or other stressful situation：应付危机或其他的有重压的状况
taking charge of a team：管理一个团队
leadership, communication, working well with a team, and finding solutions for problems：
makes them more aware of ：让他们意识到
issues of social justice：社会公平问题
working every day at a homeless shelter：天天在收留所工作
have a chance to dispel stereotypes about ：机会去除对xxx刻板印象
face prejudice ：面对偏见
earning a self-supporting living ：获得自给自足的生活
learn more about struggles and injustices that other groups of people face：
take many forms：有不少方法
active campaigning, voting in elections, and continuing to volunteer time to important causes：积极的运动、在选举中投票、为了要紧事业贡献我们的时间
volunteering isn’t just good for your mind and conscience; it’s also good for your body：
found a link between self-reported levels of good health and happiness and formal volunteer work：
made them feel happier：让他们愈加高兴
lowered their stress levels：减少重压
protect people from depression ：预防人抑郁
create a strong support system for participants：
keeping them active：让他们维持活跃
clean up a park or a beach：打扫公园和海滩
keep people healthy and can even lessen the symptoms of certain diseases：
hurricanes hit ：龙卷风袭击
wildfires burn up California：野火烧尽了加州
helping victims get re-settled, fed, and back to their "normal" lives as quickly as possible：帮助受害者重新得到安置,进食,尽快回到他们正常的生活
raising money for important causes; collecting, preparing, and giving out food to people who need it; providing labor and transportation; tutoring and mentoring youth; and lending professional expertise：
increased rates of self-esteem：增加自信
become actively involved citizens：成为积极的公民
take a strong interest in current events and local affairs：提升对时事和地方事务的兴趣
helping out your future self：帮助将来的自己
one of the most popular extracurricular activities that students list on their college applications：学生申请大学的时候列出的最受青睐的课外活动,
Keep in mind ：请记住
better the world：让世界更好
making the college community a better place to be：使大学成为一个更好的地方
care about changing the world：关心改变世界
great TOPic matter for a college application essay：非常不错的大学申请论文主题
letters of recommendation：推荐信
balance activities with your schoolwork ：平衡你作业和活动
good time management：好的时间管理
thought that their volunteer experience had helped them land their job
their volunteer experience helped them gain key skills in communication, leadership, and time management：
explore different interests：探索不一样的兴趣
working in social media, organizing events, or working in a specific type of institution such as a hospital：
look great on your resume：
A lot of the personal development benefits discussed above, such as leadership skills and the ability to collaborate with a team, are things that translate well to many jobs and workplaces.
meet like-minded inpiduals ：结识志趣相投的人
personal life, high school, college, and your professional life:
Which one of the following would you like to choose as your new year resolution or goal:
1)To help with the community; 2) To do more exercise and have more
nutritious food; 3)To have better time management
Which is the best way for students to make friends:
1). Participating in sport team
2). Volunteering for community service