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Volunteers Wanted, Now!

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By Rowe Leathersdoing-good-community
Contributor, Career Services

Whenever I suggest volunteering as a way to gain experience in a new field, the typical response is, “Where?”

To which I reply, “Everywhere!”

Are you a history buff? Why not feed your passion by volunteering at museums or historical landmarks? If you are located in a region deeply rooted in history, and prefer a little more fun, consider taking part in reenactments. Historical reenactments are about as close as you will get to the real thing. If you prefer something more low key, sharpen your research skills by volunteering at a retirement home to provide genealogical research for the residents.

Sports Management students and alumni are often challenged finding causes for which to volunteer. To this group, I recommend reaching out to youth homes and centers. There is perhaps no better opportunity to work with raw talent than in a youth sports programs. In addition, consider becoming a mentor to kids who are seeking support and guidance. Community centers, Boys & Girls clubs, and family shelters will welcome your passion for sports and willingness to help.

Future educators should consider opportunities in literacy programs which are often offered by local libraries and counties. Adult literacy programs are worthwhile causes that can help you hone in your communication and teaching skills, and look fantastic on a resume. Make a difference in someone’s life just by sharing your passion for learning!

If your program is Early Childhood Development, consider spending time at shelters for displaced families to work with children in need of support. Some programs look for volunteers to help children with school work or assist parents by providing childcare. If your interest is in social work, seek volunteer county programs for child advocates. Having once been a Court-Appointed Volunteer Child Advocate, I can speak of how important these roles can be to the child, foster parents, social workers and the court system. Imagine the difference you can make in a child’s life!

For those in Transportation and Logistics Managements and studying Business, does the idea of volunteering for disaster relief come to mind? Disaster relief efforts are fraught with logistical challenges in moving people, equipment, and supplies, and people with this knowledge will be in demand. While you may not be running the show, you may find yourself working with professionals in your field. If you are fortunate enough to be away from disaster areas, consider food banks as your cause to support. Although there is a high demand for volunteers during the holidays, food banks operate year around.

Is your expertise in Information Technology? Consider joining those in Logistics and Transportation working with disaster relief. Computer hardware, software, and communication systems will need to be repaired, rebuilt, or replaced. Now is the time for you to roll in and offer your expertise. If you are seeking a slower pace opportunity, consider youth centers as a place where you can make a difference teaching kids about technology.

As you can see, volunteer opportunities are all around us. If you are seeking ways to fill your time and build your resume, consider volunteering. Providing a helping hand, while gaining experience, is a great way to build your own worth, both personally and professionally.

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