“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (John 3:18)

Volunteering is an excellent way for students to give back to their communities while improving their college applications or resumes. Many student volunteer opportunities also give individuals a chance to apply their knowledge and skills to their field of interest, leading to a more well-rounded education.

People often take away just as much from volunteering as they put into it. Learning the ropes and picking the right cause will set students up for the greatest success as they prepare to start volunteering.

What to Know About Student Volunteering

Students should seek out organizations that align with their interests and passions. The right opportunities will fit into their schedule and give them an opportunity to practice self-discipline and time management.

No one should choose a cause simply because it seems “easy” or they are forced to meet a requirement for a program. Volunteering should come from the heart, which means finding an organization filled with people who are inspiring and insightful. Students shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions and make mistakes; volunteering is a learning experience that promotes growth and development.

Furthermore, all students should thoroughly investigate an organization before joining. If there is a social media page, reaching out to current or former volunteers can be an excellent way to determine if the organization is a good match.

Prior to conducting any volunteer work, students should ask organizers important questions that protect their safety and welfare such as:

  • Are there any health risks to know about?
  • Do you require any personal information and, if so, how is it protected?
  • Do I need to bring an ID?
  • How do you keep track of my time?
  • How is this program funded?
  • What is the protocol regarding bad weather or changes to my schedule?

Where to Find Student Volunteer Opportunities

Students can ask academic advisors and fellow students about volunteer programs; they can also check with local organizations such as hospitals, schools, libraries, and food banks. Volunteer opportunities found online should always be thoroughly investigated to ensure that they are both legitimate and safe; if a student is ever going to meet up with an event organizer, they should always be accompanied by someone and let others know of their whereabouts.

This blog was originally published on Mark Smith CIU’s website.