Volunteering is a great way to make a difference in your community, discover new interests, explore health careers, meet potential mentors, make friends and have fun. Volunteering has many awesome benefits but my two favorites for this post are gaining experience and making a difference.
If you want to truly be a well-rounded applicant, VOLUNTEER YOUR TIME! Want to get involved this spring?
Here are 10 easy ways to get great experience, impact your community and help others.
- Volunteer at a hospital: Hospitals welcome volunteers of all kinds. Contact you local hospitals volunteer department and they will provide you with a wide variety of opportunities to give your time. You could volunteer to greet families, deliver flowers and/or gifts, speak kind words to a patient that is ill, etc. This is a great place to start.
- Volunteer for a hospice facility: If you have a gift for comforting people in hard times, this could be a great place to grow that gift.
- Volunteer as a mentor: Youth and young adult organizations and ministries are always seeking young adults and students to impact the lives of our future generation. For these opportunities, expect a background check. Your local United Way or church will have a list of volunteer opportunities on their website.
- Volunteer at a shelter: It takes a lot of workers and hands for a shelter to run successfully. If you have a compassionate heart for the homeless or needy you will make an impact on one or many lives by committing and serving at a shelter.
- Volunteer at a school: This tip is close to my heart because this was one of my favorite ways to volunteer. I was able to volunteer through my sorority organization at a local elementary school and I spend 2-3 hours a month reading to young students in the school’s library. It was just as fun for me as it was for them. You may have to volunteer through a local organization like I did but this is a great way to impact your community.
- Volunteer as a delivery driver: Most communities have a “Meals on Wheels” service, where volunteers deliver meals to the elderly and disabled. “Meal on Wheels” needs drivers that meals and smile to people with little support or visitors. Also, many churches and community organizations will request drivers to deliver other goods and items like coats, toiletries, etc. If you can be the person to deliver these goods to people who desperately need them, it can be particularly rewarding.
- Volunteer to clean your community: If you belong to an organization that has adopted a highway or park in your city, you can help by cleaning litter and tending to the grounds.
- Volunteer at a community garden: Many organizations and churches have started devoting land to a community garden to grow food for the needy in those communities. These plants and flowers need regular care and if you have a green thumb this is a fun and active way to impact the community.
- Volunteer to build or rebuild: There are increasingly more natural disasters happening around our country. Floods, earthquakes, wildfires, tornados, and hurricanes all destroying homes and businesses that people have worked hard to build and grow. If you are handy and skilled in construction, decorating, and demolition this is a great way to help people that are in crisis start fresh.
- Volunteer at a festival or race with a great cause: There are races, blood drives, festivals, and benefits that serve and assist many that are in need. Sign up on the event websites to help out and have a good time in the process.
There are many community service opportunities that are engaging, exciting, and eager to have a volunteer like you. And once you find a cause you are really passionate, dive in deep. You will enjoy serving more, and both future graduate programs and future employers will appreciate that you are committed to something you care about.