Are you a youth aged 14-18, looking to volunteer?
Check out our information about the ChangeTheWorld! Youth Volunteer Challenge to get involved and get some volunteer hours!
Getting the Most Out of Your Volunteer Experience
Do you have to spend a certain amount of time volunteering or doing community service before you can graduate from high school? If so, you are not alone. High school students all over the province are working to complete their 40 hours of community service requirement before the end of their grade twelve year.
What are some of the volunteer activities that you can consider doing to earn your community service credit? How can you make sure you have a good volunteer experience? And what will you get out of volunteering, besides your high school diploma?
Volunteering helps you connect with people in a way you may not have done before. It gives you a chance to work with people of all ages and from a wide variety of backgrounds. Students who volunteer often form strong relationships with the people they meet and work with through their volunteer placements.
When you volunteer, people know that you are giving your time without getting any payment in return, and they appreciate that. Another very powerful thing that people get from volunteering is the knowledge that they have made a difference in someone’s life.
You can also learn a great deal from volunteering. Volunteering is an excellent way to explore job and career possibilities. By volunteering for an organization that works in a specific area of interest, you can get a sense of whether you are interested in that area as well as getting to meet people in the field (networking) and gaining qualification and experience that could lead directly to training programs or to part-time or summer jobs.
You can gain a new sense of appreciation for what you have and a better understanding of what life has to offer.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Volunteer Experience
- Do something you enjoy. Have fun. Ask yourself what you like to do, what talents you have to share, what are your special skills you would like to practice.
- Think about what you would like to get out of volunteering. Gain experience? Meet new contacts? Explore a career? Learn something new?
- Explore the possibilities. You can volunteer through your school; with elementary schools, places of worship, hospitals, retirement homes, sports and recreation organizations or with charitable organizations such as soup kitchens, food banks, animal shelters, homeless shelters etc.
- Use your network to get started. Talk to friends, family, teachers, clergy, neighbours and others who might help you find a meaningful volunteer experience.
- Check the Volunteer Hamilton online database! There are many volunteer opportunities listed there suitable for high school students and that qualify for your Ontario Secondary School Diploma requirements.
How Can Volunteering Help You?
- Take responsibility and participate in your community
- Increase social awareness
- Meet new people
- Learn through service
- Gain self confidence and independence
- Discover and practice new strengths and talents
- Develop skills – gain work experience
- Learn customs/language
- Explore career options – develop job network
- Have fun!
“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.”