Most people are pretty familiar with the importance of volunteering, but a lot of people don’t know how to find the volunteer opportunity that is best suited for them. It’s very important to not only find a project where you can contribute, but also find a project that you can gain insight from. The more interested in the topic you are, the easier it will be to dedicate your spare time to it.
Opportunities can range in requirements that volunteers must meet and length of time that has to be dedicated. There is something that can fit every schedule. For students, this is a very important topic of discussion. It is very beneficial to get a volunteer opportunity in your field of study. There are many options available. For example, a psychology student can volunteer in various research labs pertaining to their focus of interest, at clinics, hospitals, psychiatric facilities, and more. These offer a great chance to gain hands on experience and learn more about the field you will potentially be working in. The best way to know where these opportunities can be found will be in having great communication with your professors. It also doesn’t hurt to get out there and research various facilities and contact them yourself to see what may be available. Sometimes there may not be an option to do an internship, but 9 times out of 10 a person will never be turned down to give free time.
There are definitely other reasons to volunteer. There is nothing better than fighting for a cause you believe in, or wanting to make a difference in the world through helping the disadvantaged or helping to find a cure for a horrible illness. No matter where your passion lies, there is most likely a volunteer opportunity available for it. Most causes have websites and local chapters working to create change. If you have an interest, contact them and let them know. Most welcome help with open arms. Whether you can only give one day through a charity walk, or many hours dedicated to office work or fundraising, you will enjoy the fulfillment of contributing to a cause you care about.
Although volunteerism is something that looks great on resumes and graduate school applications, there is no greater achievement than the fact that you have taken the time to help someone else.
For more information on volunteer opportunities visit UMSL’s volunteer site or volunteermatch.
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