YOUNG VOICES: Volunteering pays off in satisfaction, experience

2012-11-19T00:00:00Z YOUNG VOICES: Volunteering pays off in satisfaction, experienceBy Alyssa Dillon nwitimes.com
November 19, 2012 12:00 am  • 

As a senior in high school, I don't always have a lot of free time. When I am not at school, I am probably at drama rehearsal, at speech and debate practice, memorizing the mock trial case, doing my homework or studying. However, I believe that if there is one thing that is important to make room for in my schedule, it is my volunteer work.

Volunteering is one of the best things people can do for their community. There are plenty of organizations looking for helpers every day. Some volunteer jobs are on a daily basis, some are once a month, and some are one-time events.

Most high school students tend to look for paying jobs as opposed to volunteer work because they simply want the money. I am certainly not going to argue with the fact that having money to spend is a nice thing to have, but helping out and asking for nothing in return results in a certain feeling of satisfaction that no paying job could possibly have.

Becoming a volunteer not only helps the organization or people you volunteer for, it can also help you, especially as a student. It can help you to see the community from a different point of view, it could relieve stress (depending on where you volunteer) or it might help you discover your dream career. It can also help you to gain some experience in a certain field of interest.

For example, if you are passionate about animals, you might search for a volunteer opportunity at a local pet shelter. Or if you want to pursue a career in literature, perhaps you could take the first step by obtaining a volunteer job at the public library.

Volunteer jobs are easy to find and, unlike a paid job, they don't become your schedule; they are worked in around it.

I volunteer at both the Porter Regional Hospital and Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore every week, and every day brings a new experience. I continue to develop new skills and strengthen my abilities.

Volunteering makes me feel like a part of the community and that I can make a difference. I always look forward to going and I always have a smile when I leave because I know that I have made someone's day easier and that they appreciate my help.

If you are looking for a way to give back to your community, explore career options, or further your knowledge about a particular organization, I suggest becoming a volunteer! It is certainly worth your time and effort, and not to mention it looks great on a college application.

I really enjoy being a volunteer, and I hope you will too.

Alyssa Dillon of Valparaiso is a senior at Valparaiso High School. The opinion expressed in this column is the writer's and not necessarily that of The Times.

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