College is undoubtedly a busy time in your life. Not only do you have to worry about doing well scholastically, but you need to start working out what you want to do after you graduate. Between job hunting, interviews, midterms and tests, you might be wondering: Is there any way that I can volunteer on top of all of this?
Fortunately for you, the answer is yes! Read below to take a look at the top five volunteer opportunities for college students like you.
1. Homeless Shelters
This is a more time-intensive option, but it’s a great way to connect directly with the community you’re aiding. Homeless shelters are always looking for volunteers, so you can often have a good pick of hours. This is particularly helpful to college students like you, who have to work around your class schedule in order to do anything.
Many people who volunteer part-time at homeless shelters also find themselves working full-time in the future. Even if that doesn’t become the case for you, it’s undoubtedly a moving experience that will enrich both your time in college, and your life in general.
2. Habitat for Humanity
The organization Habitat for Humanity has been around since the 1970s, and it’s still going strong today. This organization also has connections with many different colleges. For example, Vista College has a program that allows people to volunteer through the school, putting students like you in direct contact with the program leaders so that you can participate.
Habitat for Humanity projects involve a lot of heavy physical labor, as you’re building an actual house. It may be a good match for you if you want to add more physical activity to your schedule. It’s also a good pick for people who are unsure of their ability to work directly with people or animals who are in need and want to ease into those situations. In some cases, you may even be able to use the hours of volunteer work toward class credit as well, which can help out those who feel like they have to pick either academics or volunteering.
3. Animal Shelters
Our furry companions need care and attention, too! There are many reasons to volunteer at animal shelters, especially since these shelters are almost always in need of extra helping hands. There’s no joy quite like helping an animal find their forever home, or helping an abandoned pet or a stray through the difficult period of readjustment that they need to go through before becoming adoptable. Many volunteers at animal shelters say that it’s an enlightening experience as well, and that helping animals also helps one to discover a lot about themselves that they may not have known.
Animal shelters are also a little less intensive than homeless shelters. Though it will still undoubtedly be draining, especially if you opt for long hours, you will not need to expend the same amount of social energy as you do at homeless shelters. This makes it a good option for students who have a lot on their plate and need some time to wind down from human interaction every now and then. You’ll get that break, but you’ll still be able to aid your local community. It’s a win-win situation.
4. Food Banks
As the holiday season draws closer, more people will begin turning to food banks and soup kitchens for their winter meals. By volunteering at either of these locations, you can help keep people fed and bring a little holiday spirit into their lives as well. Soup kitchens and food banks are particularly in need during times like Thanksgiving and Christmas, so now is the perfect time to look into volunteer options at both locations.
However, it should be noted that food service volunteer jobs are available every single day of the year. Hunger is a big problem in America and many people rely on these volunteers and charitable food donations to get through the day. Your presence as a volunteer will have an immediate impact on those people, which can be an extremely powerful volunteering experience.
All of these options are available to all types of volunteers, including college students. Though you may need to work out a way to fit both volunteer work and academics into your schedule, it’s certainly possible and entirely worth it.
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