I usually blog about tech but my editor asked me to try something different this time. I have been telling her all about where I volunteer and she asked me to share my experience in the community and write about volunteer opportunities for teens. I just recently started volunteering every weekend at a place called the Foster Closet, and I have learned a lot already from the experience. But you make ask, “What’s the good in volunteering anyway?” Now first off, it’s important that every person does something positive in their community and it can be anything: helping neighbors, cleaning up trash, helping your local church or school, food drives, etc. Volunteering is just one of the ways to get involved in your community. However, for many of us in high school, volunteering pays back in many ways and often in cold, hard cash for college.
Obviously, volunteering can and should be done because it’s the right thing to do, but it is also required by many states in order for high school students to earn scholarship money for college. I came up with some common questions I’ve been asked and I hope my answers will encourage you to get out and do more, not only to help yourself but so that you can experience the satisfaction of being a part of something bigger that makes peoples lives better!
What’s the Benefit of Volunteering?
Where do I start? Not only do you make your community a better place to live, you can impact the lives of those you meet along the way, and work with some wonderful people along the way. More importantly if you are in high school the hours you gain in volunteering can really help your path towards college become a lot easier, at least financially. In my state, Florida, we have a program called Bright Futures that will help you pay for college if you pass certain academic criteria and have 100 hours total of community service (volunteering). You must have the volunteer hours in order to earn Bright Futures funding. Find out if your state has a program like Bright Futures because it could be super helpful in financing your education.
But the benefits aren’t just for you, the chance to help others is one no one should avoid even if they don’t need the hours. Personally, volunteering helps me have greater respect for hard work in general since I don’t get paid (hence volunteering) and you know that you might not get any thanks in return. In the end helping others and respecting hard work is worth it all particularly when you realize how easy it is to be self centered all the time rather than considering others.
Where can I volunteer?
This can turn out to be the easiest and hardest part of the whole process. But in all honesty it easy to find a local non-profit organization you are interested in and get yourself plugged in. I constantly hear people say “I don’t know if I will like working there.” First off that’s just a bad excuse, second you will never know that unless you try it out, and third you can stop at any time if it isn’t a good fit. Remember you’re a volunteer not a helpless victim. Every city has places where volunteers help and make a huge difference: homeless shelters, building projects, food drives, clothing drives, nursing homes, and the list goes on and on. So when people ask me where is the best place to volunteer, there isn’t a ‘best’. All of them need your help – it’s up to you to make the decision to make a difference – you can almost always find an organization that is doing something you are passionate about which make the time and work even more worthwhile.
Where does Mike volunteer?
This is probably the number one question I get about volunteering, where do I, personally, volunteer. The place I volunteer is called the Foster Closet, a local non-profit business who helps foster families get everything they need when it comes to their foster children. The Owner/Founder/CEO/Worker/Leader/Superwoman is Mrs. Tammy MaGuire, an amazing woman who has the heart to help others. Her shop is located on in Jacksonville, Florida and offers foster children clothing, toys, books, and anything else they might need for daily life. You can find out the specific items that they provide to every child just by clicking HERE.
I am constantly amazed to see what a blessing this organization is to foster families and foster children. Our mission is to help foster families as much as possible and make everyone feel comfortable while finding everything they need in the store. The Foster Closet helps foster children ranging from 0 to 18 years old. I really enjoy the people I work with and the people I help every week. To find out more about the Foster Closet and how you can get involved just visit the website or connect with them on Facebook!
In conclusion, volunteering is a wonderful and great opportunity that teens should take part in for many different reasons. Whether you need the hours to help you get through high school, fulfill criteria for programs like Bright Futures, or just to help out in your community volunteering is one of the best ways to achieve such a goal. You learn so much from volunteering and it is a great way to meet amazing people. It may be a lot of work but in the end giving back to others is a reward that keeps on giving.
What types of volunteering to you do? Why do you do it?
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