Reasons to Volunteer In High School
Written by Dhamar Garcia, Edited by Serena Huynh and Anne Sacks
As a student, you probably already dedicate a lot of time to studying, sports, and maybe even your part-time job that you might think adding volunteering to the list might not be the best use of your time. However, there are many reasons to add volunteering to your list of extracurriculars that not only help develop your community but yourself as well.
Give back to your community
As a volunteer, you have the opportunity to give back by supporting a community’s needs, either in a way that hasn’t been addressed by others or in a way that supports the work already being done. You can dedicate some of your time to help those in need at an organization that aligns with your interests or one that allows you to explore your interests and different career options. By deciding to help in an area that suits your personal or career interests, you will be more likely to devote more time and energy to your work. Our communities are the backbone of our lives, and it is for that reason that we must give back. Families spend tax money to send children to public schools and provide public resources such as parks. Neighborhoods use donations to put on community events for children to encourage youth to socialize and enjoy their childhood. No matter where you volunteer, your work allows others to cherish experiences that, like the ones you had, were often provided by the community.
Develop and gain new skills
From networking and collaborating to developing leadership and time management, there are many skills to learn and use when volunteering. These are skills that you will need in any professional setting. There are also opportunities to develop yourself as an individual such as learning about yourself, your interests, and your strengths with room to mess up and learn relieving some of the pressure to perform perfectly as often comes from a job or sport.
Build your resume
Volunteering demonstrates that you are ambitious, care about your community, and are willing to work to affect change without monetary compensation. These are great qualities that recruiters and admissions officers look for in a potential student or employee. It also doesn’t hurt to make connections and people to get letters of recommendation from.
Complete required volunteer hours
Many high schools and programs require students to complete a minimum of volunteer hours as part of graduation requirements. Some volunteer opportunities can also translate to high school or college credits. It is important to talk with your high school counselor or guidance office to find out how to apply your volunteer work. It is also important to note that even though volunteering is required, you can still have fun with it.
Where and how to get started
There are probably many opportunities to volunteer in the neighborhoods where you live. Perhaps there is an animal shelter, a senior center, a food bank, or youth and after-school programs that take in volunteers. A quick web search for volunteer opportunities near you will list many options. You are not limited to pre-existing volunteer roles or organizations. You can create your own organization or offer an existing organization your eagerness to join their cause in any way you can. One great way to create an organization is to form a school club for a subject or cause that you are passionate about.
At STEM Power, there is always a need for new and continuing student volunteers to join us as online tutors. Volunteering with STEM Power is perfect for any high school student because the STEM Power Team is very flexible and understands that tutors have busy schedules. To volunteer as a tutor for STEM Power, fill out the form on our website, stem-power-team.org.