What's right for me?
When thinking about volunteering for community service/ social work, ask yourself the following questions:
- How much time can I commit towards community service?
- What talents or skills can I offer?
- What do I want to gain from volunteering for community service/ social work?
- Will I enjoy volunteering?
Once you decide you want to do some community service/ social work, think about the problems or issues in your neighbourhood or community that concern you.
When you’ve selected or narrowed your volunteer interests, talk to your parents, friends, teachers, counsellors and people in NGOs to see if they have suggestions on how to go about it. Also, read your local newspaper, watch and listen to the television and radio news for more ideas.
There are many reasons to volunteer. But one should be universal—to do something you can enjoy. After you’ve made a choice, commit yourself to it and keep the following in mind:
- Be flexible. It is rare to find the ‘perfect’ fit right away.
- Keep an open mind. You might discover something new that interests you
- Be persistent. Volunteer coordinators are often busy, so don't assume they're not interested in you if they don't call you right away.
- Attend orientation meetings held with regards to the activity you want to do. Informed volunteers are the best volunteers.
- Gaining the extra knowledge will help you do the best job possible.
- Be responsible. Show up on time and follow through with your commitments so that people know they can depend on you.
- Don't expect to start at the top. You have to work hard and prove your worth before you are given more responsibility.
- Expect to get plenty of personal enjoyment and satisfaction from your volunteer experiences.
What can a volunteer do?
Volunteering ideas are endless. Here are some community service ideas for students to help you get started:
- Environment conservation
- Helping the underprivileged
- Your own special brand of Help
If the healthcare field interests you, consider:
Volunteering for the pulse polio drive or at a medical clinic for the poor. You can help patients with their meals, fill their forms, etc.
- Collecting toys or books for entertaining kids in the hospital
- Participating in walkathons or other fundraising activities to fight major diseases or to provide medical care for those who can't afford it
If looking after animals is your passion, you can:
Help set up small animal shelters and feed and walk the residents
- Assist with adoptions
- Inform NGOs about vaccinations due
- Work on awareness campaigns and plan fundraising activities
Preserving the planet is an important issue. You can help by:
Starting different types of recycling programmes in your neighbourhood or school
- Planting trees in your neighbourhood and involving others to help you nurture them
- Cleaning up your neighbourhood to make it a plastic free zone
- Creating awareness about waste disposal in your school or colony
Helping the underprivileged
There are many people around you who aren’t as privileged as you are. Help them:
Put in extra hours for activities like tutoring children from low income families around your neighbourhood or school
- Share your athletic talents by coaching swimming, basketball, football, tennis, badminton, or other sports in low-income areas.
- Volunteer for community projects that help construct basic facilities for the poor
- Distribute food at orphanages and community shelters
- Organize school or neighbourhood campaigns to collect food, clothing, books, toys, school supplies, eyeglasses, woollens, medicines and small gifts for the less privileged
Your own special brand of help
If you want to do something in your own special way, put on your creative thinking cap. Brainstorm with friends, or form a volunteering club at your school that can work on a wide variety of community service projects. You'll be surprised at what you can do.