The Importance of Volunteering
Here are some good reasons to get involved and volunteer!
“Why would I bother to volunteer?”, you might think. “Isn’t it better to get a job and be paid for my time?” If you are like most teenagers, the word volunteer may make you cringe as your mind races back to so many occasions of being told what to do by your parents, otherwise known as being “voluntold”. If this describes you, then read on.
One of the first and foremost reasons to volunteer is out of necessity: you may need to have 30-40 volunteer hours by the end of grade 12 in order to graduate. These hours (also referred to as community service) can change from province to province, so if you are already in high school and have not heard of them, you should probably ask a teacher.
Another good reason to volunteer in high school is that, by offering to volunteer, you may have access to opportunities you otherwise would not. For example, a local newspaper is unlikely to hire a high school student as a journalist, but they would probably be happy to have you as a volunteer and, although you will not be writing headlines, at least you will be getting involved in a field you may be interested in.
Speaking of getting involved in a field you are interested in, by volunteering you can also gain valuable work experience, connections, and references. You may not think it, but employers value volunteer experience almost as much as real work experience and even education. Think about it: you are a lot more likely to be hired as a mechanic if you volunteered at Bob’s Oil Change, even if it was for 40 hours three years ago. Failing that, it never hurts to have multiple references ready: if you have an interview with a reputable law firm, they are still more likely to hire you with Bob as your reference (assuming he had good things to say about you) then another equally qualified candidate with no references at all!
You probably hear this reason all the time, but right now you have all the time in the world – so why not volunteer? Speaking as someone only in their mid-twenties, I can attest to the fact that free time is now an elusive thing. If I am not working, I am cleaning or fixing things around the house. Oh, and I have to go to that wedding next weekend, and visit the folks, and so on. You get the idea? Life has a habit of swallowing up every spare moment pretty much as soon as you walk out of school for the last time. Because of that, you should do anything and everything you can now while you still have the flexibility to do it!
Finally, and most importantly, volunteering can offer you the kind of fulfillment that sitting around on the computer, watching Netflix, or texting all day cannot. Imagine the satisfaction of seeing an elementary school student you have helped tutor passing that big test they did not think they could? Or the day your humanitarian group finishes building a house for disaster victims? Or even something as small as raking the leaves for an elderly neighbour? So get out there and try it and you may find yourself addicted!