Volunteering: Essential For Your Future
If you are currently in high school, or getting ready to enter high school next year, you may be strongly encouraged, or even required to conduct volunteer work before you graduate. Many high schools have volunteer hour requirements that have to be met before you are able to graduate. Trying to find time to volunteer while juggling school work and other after-school activities can seem daunting, but keep in mind, volunteering can be very rewarding.
Volunteering can help you in multiple ways:
- Help With Scholarships: Certain scholarships, such as Florida’s Bright Futures Scholarship requires completion of volunteer time. The Gold Seal Vocational Scholars Award requires you to complete 30 hours of documented community service. The Florida Medallion Scholars Award requires you to conduct 75 hours of community service, and the Florida Academic Scholars Award requires 100 hours of community service. There are organizations that award college scholarships based on community service such as: The Bonner Foundation, Do Something, Comcast, Disabled American Veterans, and others.
- Help With College Admission: No matter how involved you are in extra-curricular activities, college admissions still care about your grades, so it is of utmost importance to keep up with your grades. Colleges also want to see that prospective students are well-rounded. This means they will look beyond your academic record and into volunteering activities. Volunteering can communicate to colleges that you have organizational leadership and teamwork skills.
When you start looking for a volunteering opportunity, try to find something that is in line with your interests, passions, or future career path. If you are interested in becoming a lawyer or a police officer, consider the Teen Court in Brevard County where students act as attorneys, clerks, bailiffs, and/or jurors in real trials. If you has a passion for animals, consider volunteering at a veterinary office or the SPCA. If healthcare is of interest to you, a hospital can provide you with many great opportunities to get your foot in the door. Halifax Regional Hospital’s Junior Volunteer Program allows high school students between the ages of 14 and 18 to experience work in a healthcare facility. Other hospitals have similar programs. If you enjoy politics, consider volunteering for your favorite candidate. There are as many volunteer opportunities as there are interests.
In Order To Be Successful:
- Be Dedicated: If you make a commitment, always show up. You are there to help, not goof off.
- Be Professional: You will be working with people who have chosen this path as their life’s work. Be serious about your role.
- Be Realistic: If you are very busy during the school week, consider a volunteer opportunity that you can do on the weekends, or maybe even once per month.
- Stick With One Or Two Organizations: Volunteering can be even more rewarding if you take the time to get to know the staff and the cause of the organization.
Volunteering gives you an opportunity to impact the lives of others. It’s a way to make a positive impact on the world around you, and actually see the benefits your work has produced. You will be surprised by all the rewards you will receive from simply helping others.