Teenagers today lead very busy lives between school, extracurricular activities, and part-time jobs. It is amazing that they can find time for anything else! Many students work hard to find time to volunteer at different nonprofit organizations, too. These include animal shelters, health care centers, soup kitchens, Habitat for Humanity, and other community centers. Studies are finding that community service opportunities offer many different benefits to students, as well as to the communities they serve.
What are the Benefits of Community Service?
Performing community service has been shown to offer a number of benefits for young people before, during, and even after their high school years. The benefits of volunteering can have a holistic effect on students’ lives—professionally, educationally, and personally.
The community service projects that students perform during their teen years could benefit them when they begin their job search. Volunteering teaches valuable skills they wouldn’t be able to learn in a classroom. Examples of these skills include better communication, teamwork, creativity, problem-solving, and time management. Employers tend to look for candidates who have obtained skills in these areas.
One study conducted by the Corporation for National and Community Service found that having volunteer experience on a resume boosts chances of finding a job by 27%. Students who complete high school or college normally find that they have not yet gained a great deal of work experience. What they do not realize is that volunteer experience is just as valuable. These learned volunteer skills easily transfer over to a job. As a result, students who list community service activities on their resume can have an advantage over those who do not.
Students also create important connections that guide them to different career openings later in life. Contacts made through volunteering often lead to letters of recommendation, references, and help with finding job opportunities. At the very least, students can practice their networking skills. This will be a huge benefit to them throughout their lives.
On top of the career benefits, there are many educational benefits to serving. One study analyzed data from the National Education Longitudinal Study and found that students who volunteered did better in reading, history, science, and math and were more likely to complete high school. This is because students are able to see how their schoolwork applies to the real world, keeping them interested in what they are learning.
Volunteer experiences can also give students an advantage on college admissions and scholarships. Admission into colleges and universities has become more competitive over the years. Service-learning projects listed on college applications offer students an advantage over others. Many students begin serving in high school, but students who serve even earlier have an even greater advantage. Their length of experience usually leads them to hold higher positions within the organization they are serving. This proves impressive to colleges looking for responsible, hard-working students to admit.
Likewise, students are able to earn scholarships through community service programs. This is a great way for students to set themselves apart and impress scholarship providers by showing their interest in helping the community. Regardless of whether a scholarship is labeled as a specific “community service” scholarship or not, students have a better chance of winning when they list volunteer experience.
Community service even benefits students at a personal level. Through their service, students are given the opportunity to work with a variety of diverse people. This helps them develop a sense of social awareness. They learn patience and empathy while getting to see first-hand how they can have a positive impact on their local community.
Volunteer work has also shown to offer mental and physical health benefits for young people. Whether working with a group of people or with pets at an animal shelter, it can reduce stress and anxiety while improving one’s well-being. Researchers have discovered humans are hard-wired to give to others. This means the more students give, the happier they feel. Students can increase their self-confidence through the feeling of achievement they get from donating their time. Staying physically active while volunteering has shown to lessen symptoms of chronic pain, reduce the risk of heart disease, and lower a person’s mortality rate.
Additionally, volunteering is a great way for students to make new friends who have similar interests. Meeting regularly with others boosts a teens’ social skills and give them confidence. Volunteering can strengthen a teen’s relationships with family members, when everyone serves together.
How Does Community Service Affect A Community?
Volunteerism has the power to create a mutually beneficial relationship between students and organizations in the community. Organizations are provided with cost-free service by their volunteers. This helps keep their operations running while saving money. At the same time, students are able to feel a unique sense of fun and fulfillment as they contribute to a meaningful cause.
Where Do I Start?
There are plenty of places for teens to find volunteer opportunities. To find a good fit, teens should first ask themselves a couple of important questions:
- “Who would I like to work with?” – Some students may feel more comfortable working with children, while others would rather work with adults. Students should also consider if they would be comfortable working with animals or even possibly remotely from home. This first step can help significantly narrow down a pool of volunteer opportunities for a student.
- “How much time do I have to commit to serving?” – Take a serious look at how much time a student is available to give to an organization. It is better for a student to be honest with how much time they are able to give to an organization, rather than try to do too much. Research has also shown that 2-3 hours of community service per week (roughly 100 hours each year) can deliver the most benefits for both volunteer and organization. Organizations never want their volunteers to feel overworked or stressed. Ultimately, volunteering should feel like a fun hobby rather than a chore.
- “What skills can I bring to a volunteer job?” – Students should take the time to evaluate the skills they already possess that would benefit potential organizations they would serve. These skills range from hard skills, such as writing or math abilities, to soft skills, like communication and patience. No skill is too small or insignificant. Organizations need all kinds of people. Having an idea of what special skills they possess helps a student find the right fit.
- “What am I interested in?” – Students should take into account the things that interest them or new skills they would like to learn when picking a place to volunteer. For example, a student who does not enjoy history or science would probably not enjoy serving at a museum or national park. A student who cares about animals and the outdoors might look into community service at a local animal shelter. If a student is interested in the volunteer work they are doing, it is likely to be a more enjoyable experience for them.
- “What are my goals for volunteering?” – Students need to consider what they would like to take away from their community service experience. For example, are they looking to meet a new group of people, try a new type of work, or learn a new skill?
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An organization that lines up with a student’s interests and goals, as well as the time they can give and skill set, is an ideal match. While this may seem like a daunting task to find, there are many resources available to help students. Sites like VolunteerMatch are great resources to help students find opportunities in their area. Students can speak with a guidance counselor or school administrator for suggestions of organizations where they can increase their community involvement.
The Bridge Teen Center offers opportunities for middle school and high school students to serve at The Bridge Thrift Store through its innovative “Thriftastic” Job Readiness program. This program asks students to commit 2-3 hours each week serving in the thrift store. Students are led through a training booklet that will increase their personal development while gaining valuable job skills they will use throughout their lives. This program can even open up employment opportunities for students with The Bridge Thrift Store. Currently, four former Thriftastic students are now serving as part-time staff members, due to their heart for volunteering.
While student positions are limited, the Thriftastic program is open to teens in 7th through 12th grade with an approved Bridge Teen Center membership application on file. Students can also schedule service hours at the thrift shore separate from the Thriftastic Program. Membership is FREE to all eligible students.
— Update: 04-02-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article Here’s Why Community Service Is Important – Top 5 Benefits from the website habitatbroward.org for the keyword benefits of community service.
Community service is one of the best ways to help benefit the public or give back to your community. It does not only have positive effects on society, but it will bring benefits to your life and personal development. Why is community service important? If you have ever asked yourself this question, let’s consider some of the possible reasons.
Giving back and assisting others is the basis of community service or volunteering. Thus, it teaches us how significant it is to help the ones in need, the ones who are less fortunate than us. The importance of community service lies in the fact that it connects us to the community by improving it, and making it a better place for all of us to live in.
When you are thinking of changing or advancing your career, community service helps you gain experience and skills required for the professional turn you are considering taking. One of the community service benefits is that it provides you with the chance to improve skills important for a workplace, such as communication and organizational skills, teamwork, planning, problem-solving and task management. Furthermore, people could first merely try out an attractive career through volunteering before leaping to a long-term commitment.
How does volunteering benefit the community? Volunteering or community service provides you with a perfect opportunity to become closer to the community you live in. Community service broadens your horizons by helping you understand the needs of the society and the population you are trying to help through the project you are volunteering on. Reading or hearing about issues is not quite the same as getting personally involved. It brings you closer to families and individuals in need, gives you firsthand experience and understanding of the conditions they are in.
The easiest way to make friends is through activities you perform together. Not only would you be helping the ones in need, but you would also be able to meet some other volunteers. This benefit of community service is especially important if you are new in an area. After all, is there a better way to meet your neighbors and show them how eager you are to improve your community? In addition, you could invite your existing friends to do community service with you and through it, further strengthen your relationship and have fun at the same time.
Introverts sometimes have problems meeting people and making friends. Volunteering might help shy and quiet individuals with this issue as it offers lots of opportunities to meet and work with various people. Thus, it is a valuable experience for improving and practicing how to socialize in diverse surroundings. On the other hand, students are advised to do community service in order to get work-related knowledge and skills. At the same time, it increases their chances of getting a job since their community involvement creates good references for potential employers.
If you are looking for a possibility to help out the ones in need by improving your community, acquiring new knowledge and skills at the same time, consider performing community work. There are various volunteer opportunities to choose from depending on your time and preferences. From office work and answering emails and phone calls, through helping out in a store and thus raising funds, to building safe homes for whole families – let’s help our community be a better and safer place for all of us.
— Update: 09-02-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article Top 7 Benefits of Community Service in Society from the website www.catchafire.org for the keyword benefits of community service.
Many people see community service as a chore, but it is so much more than that. Community service benefits you with a sense of accomplishment and a chance to better your neighborhood.
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There are a wide range of community service benefits when you sign up to volunteer. Community service is a way to provide your community with help in any way you can. You might be cleaning up a park, assisting a houseless animal, or volunteering at a soup kitchen. Regardless, that feeling you get from helping others is priceless. The relationships you build with the people you work with and the people you help will have a lasting impression on you. It is a chance to have a positive impact on the world. Another great benefit is the sense of accomplishment you get from doing good on purpose.
Why Is Community Service Important For Society?
There is so much happening around us that it can seem hard to catch a break at times. Volunteering activities allow us to reinvest that energy into our communities, to transition from feeling helpless to helpful. We need that as a reminder of our impact when choosing a constructive action opposed to a destructive one. It is not only beneficial to you as an individual but to the institutions around us. The needs of local communities aren’t always the first priority; community service benefits us on a direct level by shrinking that gap.
A prime example of this impact can be seen if we compare nonprofit-centered healthcare to traditional healthcare. Traditional medical groups are for-profit and may favor decisions that their Board of Drectors agree with, even if they do not align with the highest interests of their patients. Nonprofit hospitals abide by a “Community Benefits'' value system which is noted as “providing benefits to a class of persons that is broad enough to benefit the community”, under the Affordable Care Act. This allows charitable hospitals to receive a tax exemption and as a result, their best interest is to do right by the patients they serve.
The real-world benefits of this could mean offering wellness options that expand accessibility for local residents, such as an exam with payment available on a sliding scale or for free. Think of the number of people and families who wouldn’t be able to access quality healthcare if these hospitals no longer received funding. Instead of taking a step back, community service gives us the opportunity to raise awareness with our actions and strengthen existing opportunities for community-based care.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Community Service?
What are the community service benefits you may experience by volunteering, on an individual and community level? There are a few things to be aware of before you jump in and commit to a project and organization. Here are the pros and cons:
Pros: Community Service Benefits
- Organizations often have a deep relationship to the local communities they serve. By contributing to their work, you can become more familiar with the needs of your neighborhood, city, and state. That new level of awareness allows you to be more informed on where support is needed and how you can collaborate with others to reach collective goals. It is often a common experience for people in the philanthropic space to transfer that energy into politics and to provide a different form of impact.
- The Brennan Center found that “in a city of 100,000, each new nonprofit community organization lead to a 1.2 percent drop in the homicide rate, a one percent reduction in the violent crime rate, and a 0.7 percent reduction in the property crime rate”. Community service benefits the entire community, impacting future generations and leaders. Volunteering activities act as a defensive tool within low-income communities that have experienced the increase in violence. It offers an after-school experience that protects youth who might journey down less savory paths. This is incredibly beneficial to youth and their families, ultimately contributing to a lower mortality rate in these communities.
- There are many community service benefits for corporate philanthropy! It allows companies to develop customized programs for employees to give back and engage with local and/or global communities. Many companies also provide time off for their staff to volunteer which helps ease any time-based burdens. From networking to professional development to team bonding, it provides many possibilities to leverage professional skills and to help you reach your future goals. Does your employer have an employee engagement program? Contact our Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships, Nikita Scott [[email protected]] to learn more about upgrading your CSR program and partnering with Catchafire.
- Community service can be a wonderful way for those with mental health issues to socialize and build relationships in a purpose-filled forum. It allows you to readjust your focus and combat loneliness to do work where one can see the tangible impact of our actions. Per thebalancesmb.com, prisoners make up the largest demographic of mental illness in North America. For programs that pair shelter dogs with inmates such as Paws for Life, it has been noted that inmates become more committed to their rehabilitation. Additionally, these types of programs support the recovery of veterans with PTSD.
Cons: Things to Consider
- If your skills and time given are the ice cream base, then your passion for the mission is the cherry on top. Volunteering with organizations requires an intentional connection and a desire to bring a can-do attitude into the mix. Most nonprofits want to know that you have an interest or better yet, a for their cause, within that first contact. Not only does it help them build trust-based relationships, it also sharpens your focus. Without it, you may become easily unmotivated during volunteering activities and feel unfulfilled once they are complete. If you don’t have any causes that spark your fire, community service may not be right for you at this time!
- Most nonprofits are always in search of increased funding and this can be reflected by their limited staff capacity and loosely defined structure. As a result, you might be helping a team of 9 or a team of 2 [including yourself!]. You might be expected to act independently and self-regulate for task management at times. If you prefer working with large teams or receiving more oversight for guidance, community service may not align with your needs.
- This may be an obvious con but as a reminder, volunteer work is free-of-charge. Whether it is a small or large request and a short or lengthy project, you are expected to provide high-quality work to benefit the community. There are many intangible benefits you can reap but if you prefer to only provide labor in exchange for financial compensation, volunteering may not be of interest to you.
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7 Benefits of Community Service
1. Build a Connection With Others
Community service can get you out of your comfort zone by helping you to make friends or strengthen existing relationships. This can be helpful if you’re engaging in an opportunity that requires weekly or monthly participation to adequately invest in these connections. It’s an opportunity to explore activities that can be fun with people from diverse backgrounds. Your experiences can also become wonderful memories in helping to make the world a better place with your loved ones.
2. Give Back Value To Your Community
Community organizations need the support of local volunteers like you to keep moving. Without it, most organizations wouldn't be able to sustain their efforts. By volunteering, you’re not only supporting their work, but you’re saving them money and allowing them to reinvest into the communities they serve. A great example of this is when you volunteer with environmental nonprofits that center around national parks. Wxith the help of volunteers, they get to continue their conservation work without interruption. Meanwhile, you gain more experience and can raise awareness about the need to preserve our parks. Now that is inspiring!
3. Improve Your Mind and Body
Older adults can have issues with maintaining a sharp focus as time passes, especially those in senior homes. By volunteering, they’re able to practice problem-solving and be mentally stimulated in a consistent manner. This can present itself as a new lease on life if you’re retired and would love to participate in a meaningful activity with others. It’s also great for mental health and helping you destress. This can aid in slowing down the aging process, burning stubborn belly fat, and even in preventing illnesses such as heart disease and Alzheimer’s. It is noted that people who volunteer over 100 hours a year are some of the healthiest in the United States- isn’t that amazing?! Try adding more volunteer hours to your routine to improve your well-being.
4. Advance In Your Career
Community service gives you the opportunity to brush up on old skills, master your current skill set, and diversify your resume with new skills. No matter what level you stand on within your career, it can be beneficial. Outside of the work you can do, it’s also advantageous for volunteers that want to take on leadership roles. Many exceptional volunteers go on to improve their communication, problem solving, and public speaking skills, as well as self-confidence. Over half of volunteers on Catchafire stay involved beyond the first project, with many becoming repeat volunteers, donors, or Board members. Additionally, school-aged youth can utilize volunteering to boost their college applications and college students can volunteer to boost their post-grad job search. Volunteering provides a significant stepping stone in personal and professional growth.
5. Gain Knowledge of Other Ways of Life
Community service allows you to travel without ever leaving your house! Since there are local and global nonprofits with volunteering activities and opportunities available on Catchafire, you are able to explore diverse perspectives and learn new information whenever you’d like. By working with international organizations, you can learn about various languages, cultures, and traditions, which can help your portfolio stand out and shine.
6. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Volunteering requires you to utilize critical thinking skills at a typically fast pace for problem-solving. If you’re used to making decisions and moving based on what’s familiar, this will challenge you in the best of ways. It gives you the chance to meet new people and welcome innovative ways to approach issues. Additionally, if you’ve found yourself stuck in a professional rut, this is one easy way to experiment with your skill set and get a tangible assessment of your mastery.
7. Bring Fun and Fulfillment Into Your Life
Community service can be fun, whether it’s by yourself or with family and friends. By contributing to opportunities that will impact the lives of others, it makes the experience more enjoyable and builds relationships that can last a lifetime. If you are an introvert, you can easily complete opportunities from home. However, if you are an extrovert, there are plenty of in-person opportunities to help you get started.
Community Service Volunteer Opportunities on Catchafire
Sign up to become a virtual volunteer on Catchafire! Catchafire allows you to choose from 24 different cause areas and 35 skill-sets to find your perfect volunteer experience. You can support nonprofits immediately through one-hour consultation calls for specific questions and needs, or take on a longer-term project (5-50 hours) to provide support in areas like IT, finance, marketing, design, HR, and more. Whether you would like to help create an operating budget for an environment-focused organization or offer a 1-hour marketing strategy consultation, there is an array of flexible options available.
When you join Catchafire as a volunteer, you can filter volunteer opportunities by cause areas. Some of our most popular cause areas with open projects include:
- Community and Economic Development
- Diversity & Inclusion
- Health & Nutrition
- Youth Development
High-need opportunities you could find on Catchafire include nonprofits representing:
- Senior centers, which can often be lonely for residents. This is especially significant for older adults and residents that didn’t have the greatest relationship with family. With consistent volunteers visiting, it can motivate residents to build and maintain social connections. Support staff members with projects related to finance support, brand messaging, and event planning.
- Youth organizations, which can provide emotional and academic support for students and critical after-school programming, no matter where they are within the school season.
- Local and national parks, which are currently being affected by record-breaking heat waves. Environmental nonprofits need more support than ever and you could be the perfect volunteer candidate.
Engaging in community service is one of the best hobbies you could have. There are a multitude of community service benefits, both on a community level and on an individual level. It’s a feel-good activity that is a win-win on all fronts. Together, we can collaborate to make the world a better place and ensure that all community needs are met.
Interested in getting started on Catchafire? Explore volunteer opportunities that have been personalized for your unique skill set and cause areas here. You’ll be sure to experience these community service benefits firsthand!