At some point in your life, it’s a good idea to volunteer and help out with some organization or another. Many people do end up volunteering, but often for the wrong reasons. It’s one thing to volunteer because you “have to” for one reason or another, it’s something else entirely to volunteer because… it’s the right thing to do.
A lot of people who volunteer do it simply because they “have to.” Whether it’s because an organization they’re involved with requires a number of community service hours or because college admissions likes to see people who volunteer a lot or any number of other reasons. There is honestly nothing truly wrong with this. You’re volunteering and helping others which is an amazing thing to do. The only real issue is that you’re often doing your service work in fear of what may happen if you don’t do it. Will that college not let you in? Will you be kicked out of that organization?
Admittedly, I used to be like this.
I was told, when I was younger, that I would participating in some community service event because of this or because of that. So, I did it. I didn’t want to get in trouble because I didn’t do it. As I became older, the real impact of volunteer work became more and more evident to me. I didn’t just do the CROP Walk because I was expected to, but because I realized that poverty and world hunger were real issues that needed to be solved and addressed. I started to actually do things because it’s the right thing to do, to help others.
During my freshman year of college, my volunteer efforts could, technically speaking, be placed into the “have to” category. I had a minimum number of community service hours I needed to rack up before the end of the year for both my participation as a College of Education Learning Community Mentee as well as to achieve my Level 1 Leadership Certification. Yes, I would have faced repercussions if I had not achieved my required number of hours, but that is not why I volunteered or why I continue to volunteer.
I volunteer because I want to help others. I volunteer because there are people who did not have the benefits I had growing up. I volunteer because I care about people. I volunteer because it’s the right thing to do.
I volunteer in the Big Event because the people of Bloomsburg put up with the antics of college students for a nice chunk of the year and they deserve at least a day of us giving back, helping out, and cleaning up the wonderful town many of us call a second home.
I volunteer at Relay for Life because cancer is a real issue that impacts way too many people. I can afford to take twelve hours out of a weekend to walk and help work a booth to help raise money for cancer research. Those twelve hours help raise money to benefit others and save lives.
I volunteer at Cradles to Crayons because it kills me inside to know that there are so many families and children suffering from poverty. I am more than able to take some of my time and help sorting items and making sure the children supported by Cradles to Crayons receive the best that can be provided to them. I will be a teacher some day and I would like to know that if I have a student suffering from poverty or homelessness there are volunteers out there willing to help them achieve.
I volunteer at the McDowell Institute’s table for Mental Health Awareness Day, because mental illnesses are not always taken as seriously as they should. I want to help change the stigmas around them and help make college students more aware of the reality of mental illnesses.
I volunteer in plenty of other things I don’t even have time to mention because I want to help others. I like helping others. Yes, I may “need” to do community service hours and volunteer for something, but that doesn’t change the fact that I willingly volunteer for the sole reason of helping others. I don’t worry about the repercussions anymore, I just want to try and make people’s lives just a little bit better.