Getting Your required 40 Hours of Volunteering.
When it comes to the mandatory hours of community service or volunteer service you will be asked to complete as a high school student, here are some things to consider.
Go beyond the minimum
To encourage students to volunteer and give back to their communities, schools tend to have a minimum number of service hours students must complete by graduation day. Usually, this number will stay around 40 hours to mimic the total hours in a full time work week, giving students the option of completing all of the hours in one week over the holidays. These students will also gain the benefit of experiencing what a full time work week will feel like.
If you start early, you’ll find the minimum number of hours can be completed in no time, which is why it’s a good idea to consider going beyond the bare minimum. Volunteering is an opportunity to give back to your community while learning more about it. It’s also a time to sample different areas of the workforce and build contacts. Extensive volunteer work won’t go amiss on a resume either.
Volunteering in the long term versus the short term
There are pros and cons to each, but the benefits of one can significantly outweigh the benefits of the other. Short term volunteer positions are usually coveted by students for two main reasons: they are short in duration allowing students to get the work done and over without any expectations of prolonged commitment. They also enable students to sample a variety of opportunities in a shorter amount of time.
Opting for shorter terms might be tempting, but there are a few downsides that might have you considering longer termed positions. Say, for instance, you can choose to either volunteer for an organization every day over the course of a week or a few hours every week over the course of a few months. Choosing the second option speaks volumes about a student’s work ethic and his or her ability to stay committed and dedicated to a single project. It may seem trivial, but future employers, admission’s officers and the people in your community are going to take notice. Even if you still only meet the minimum number of community hours, you will be demonstrating your reliability and your ability to stay consistent for longer. Staying committed to one organization for longer will also help you build stronger ties within that community and potentially lead to summer job opportunities.
If you can find the time, consider volunteering at a few different places instead of just one or two. You have four years to complete those hours, giving you plenty of time to seek out opportunities at more than a couple of places. Try approaching organizations that do work you are completely unfamiliar with. Community service is a learning experience as much as it is a time to give back.