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Taking advantage of volunteering opportunities at school

If you’re familiar with the EduExperts family, you’ll know that we’re big fans of getting involved with extracurricular activities while at school! The benefits of these activities span from meeting new friends to gaining leadership experience to finding new hobbies and so much more, so it’s well worth getting involved in a wide range of extracurriculars during your time as a student.

 

One specific extracurricular activity you might want to consider getting involved in at school is volunteering. This refers to donating your time to community organisations, helping people out for a good cause, and gaining valuable experience while you’re at it!

 

Why should you get involved with volunteering? How can you go about it? Don’t fret – we’ve collected answers to a few of the most common questions about volunteering at school here, as well as a few pointers for making the most of your time while you’re at it. Read on!

 

Why should I get involved in volunteering opportunities?

There are two main reasons for why volunteering is a great extracurricular activity to consider as a school student.

 

The first reason applies regardless of whether you’re a school student or not: volunteering is a great way to help people out! Regardless of your own situation, you’ll always be able to find people who may be less fortunate than yourself and are having a hard time of things. By volunteering at places such as foodbanks, homeless shelters, or medical organisations, you’ll be able to use some of your own time to help these people out and show that you care. Remember, every little bit counts!

 

The second reason is more specific to being a student, and it relates to work experience. If you’re a junior high school student (or younger) and you’ve ever tried to apply for jobs to earn a bit of extra money, you’ll probably be used to getting turned away because you don’t have enough experience. You need experience to find a job, but you need a job to get experience… sometimes it feels like you can’t win! The good news, though, is that volunteering opportunities are a great way to build up a CV of valuable experience that future employers will love to see.

 

What sort of volunteering opportunities should I be considering?

The opportunities you might consider will differ according to your age, your interests, and even your plans for the future (if you know what you want to do, that is!).

 

If you’re a younger student, you might have to hunt a bit harder for the right opportunity. Finding one that aligns with your interests is always a good move, so if you’re involved in local sports clubs, churches, or community groups, these can be a good place to start. Talking to your parents is also a good way of getting involved!

 

If you’re an older student, you’ll probably have the luxury of more opportunities available to you, but you’ll probably also have more demands on your time. In this case, it’s good to consider how you might make sure that the time you invest in volunteering provides you with more benefit in the future.

 

For example, if you’re pretty set on the career path that you want to take after finishing school, it’s useful to consider whether there are any volunteering opportunities that align with this path. One way of determining this is by talking to your teachers in the relevant subjects for this career. They’ll often be able to point you in the direction of opportunities that can help you get valuable experience in a field that supports your career aspirations later on!

 

When you’re involved in volunteering that may be aligned to a potential future career, one pointer is to make sure that you get a good reference from someone at the organisation you’re volunteering with. You never know when this will come in handy when applying for universities or jobs later on down the track!

 

How can I find volunteering opportunities through my school?

Often, you’ll be able to find volunteering opportunities through a dedicated group at your school – this might be called a volunteering or service group, or similar. This is a great way to get involved as community organisations will often reach out to schools whenever they need school-aged volunteers, so you’ll typically find a wide range of choices here! As well as this, getting involved through a school group is a great way to boost your profile for leadership positions within school.

 

If there is no such group at your school, you might consider stepping up and starting your own! If you can find a few students and teachers who are willing to help out, the school will almost certainly get behind the cause and support you in doing so. It might seem like a big step to take, but starting small with only one or two community organisations and a few student volunteers can lead to massive change a few years down the line!

 

How do I manage my time between volunteering and other school activities?
As always, it’s up to you to make sure that you’re managing your time in a way that ensures you get the most benefit out of the activities that you’re doing, as well as leaving enough time for rest, hanging out with friends, and doing things that you like.

 

Because the demand for volunteers is usually greater than the number of volunteers willing to fill positions, it can be easy to overcommit to work hours at your chosen organisation. Of course, working hard for the people you’re serving is admirable, but it’s important to make sure that you’re doing so in a sustainable way that fits around all your other activities!

 

One way of making sure your time commitments work for you is to set aside a specific amount of time per week for volunteering and to avoid spending more than this on a regular basis. For example, you might commit to three hours on one afternoon or weekend day. Making this clear with your organisation in advance will ensure that everyone is on the same page about expectations, which will lead to everyone being happier in the long run!

 

 

Want to know more about EduExperts’ educational offering? Get in touch with your local centre here.

 

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