Picture this: you’re an eleventh grade student scoping out colleges in or outside your area. You find one that looks like a great fit for you, do some research on it and find out that, gasp, a mere application to this college requires a minimum of fifty verified volunteer hours. Where are you going to rack up that kind of community service time?
Thankfully, volunteering is easy and quite simple. There are a few non-profits that exist in some form in nearly every town and city and usually employ many volunteers at once. I’ve put together a list of three common ways to build volunteer hours that aren’t too hard and might just open a homeschool student up to what the world has to offer.
Imagine categorizing and moving around a large series of small, colored rocks in a field while the wind blows in your face gently. That’s essentially what it’s like to be a library shelver, the most common type of library volunteer position. I’ve done good bit of this kind of work within the past few years, and it has its benefits.
For one, it’s a good exercise for your brain. Each book in a library has a very specific spot it must go in, and you have to count your numbers and quietly sing the alphabet all the way down a library shelf to get there. Secondly, it’s a relaxing, peaceful task. For anyone who wants to build volunteer hours without commotion or chaos, the public library is a great place to start.
Maybe volunteering at a library isn’t your style. Perhaps you want to help people. Hungry, desolate people who really could use help. Most areas with medium or greater populations have soup kitchens (which can go by the names homeschool shelters or rescue missions) where students can volunteer, alone or in a group, to prepare and serve food to the homeless, along with other tasks. Soup kitchens are the perfect way to work for the good of the needy while building those valuable volunteer hours.
It may seem strange to have a specific organization on this list after the previous two entries, but Big Brothers, Big Sisters is a very widespread, national organization. Similar to working in a soup kitchen but with the added benefit of directly changing someone’s life (hopefully for the better), the Big Brothers, Big Sisters foundation is an excellent opportunity for a student who cares a lot about the positive development of kids.
Of course, there’s any number of worthy organizations around the globe that could use a homeschool student’s help. Every person and every action makes a difference, and while it’s good to keep your eye on the prize (read: sweet, sweet complete college applications), once you’ve started volunteering, you may be compelled to continue for a long time. There’s just something about bettering a community that puts butterflies in the stomach.