The Value of Volunteering
Published on Saturday, January 4, 2014 - 9:19am
Volunteering can provide an invaluable experience for the volunteer and the receiver of volunteer service. Retirees, long-term unemployed adults and teens seeking work experience can benefit from volunteering. Volunteering provides the giver an opportunity to acquire new skills, to utilize their skills by teaching others and to meet new people. Volunteering can even bolster one's confidence and possibly lead to a new career.
Several years ago, a single mother came into the neighborhood library where I worked and inquired about a volunteer position for her 14-year-old daughter. The girl was extremely bright but painfully shy. She did not seem to have friends her age but she seemed comfortable around adults.
After consulting with the manager, it was decided that we might be able to utilize this young lady's academic skills as a tutor for elementary school children. Both she and her mother agreed and we arranged a schedule.
We recruited other students from Banneker Senior High School to volunteer as tutors in math, science and English. The students were able to use their experiences as tutors to fulfill their community service hours. We were even more fortunate to have some retired teachers volunteer to teach English, math and Spanish.
The tutors worked in the library after school and on Saturdays and everyone seemed to benefit. The shy young girl tutored in both English and math. As a result of her experience as a tutor, she told her mother at the end of the school year that she wanted to become a teacher. Her volunteer experience was not only successful but fulfilling.
Food banks and clothing banks at churches and other charitable institutions are always in need volunteers. Other institutions who could benefit from the services of volunteers include:
- Meals on Wheels
- National Park Service
- domestic violence services
- Red Cross
- local museums
The impact of volunteers is invaluable. If you are:
- unemployed and in need of acquiring marketable skills;
- a high school student who needs to complete community service hours;
- a retiree with a desire to use your knowledge and expertise to help others
consider becoming a volunteer in your community.
Ages 14 to senior citizens.