The far-reaching benefits of helping others are more than just resume builders. Serving a community can change lives for all.
Community service is important for character development and a majority of people should volunteer more. Many people do community service just to put it on their college applications but it is so much more than just something you add to your resume. Many life skills can be developed through community service.
“It’s that exposure and learning experience. Learning doesn’t just happen in the classroom it happens out. Utilizing the knowledge and skills we learn in the classroom, to really be applicable in the real world and for the good of the community and hopefully humanity in general,” said Nicole Cozzi, coordinator for community service at California Lutheran University.
There is an entire world outside of college and after graduation we are going to have to understand and assimilate into it. One of the ways we can prepare for this is to do community service. Through community service we can experience how the community works outside of our Cal Lutheran bubble.
This experience in the community also lends itself to learn job skills that will help in our future careers. Students can get real life experience without having to commit to a time-consuming job or internship. There are a wide variety of nonprofits as well as jobs they need help completing and students can easily find an area that matches a passion or potential career.
“You’re doing everything from event planning to budgeting to leadership, there’s a wide variety of skills people learn while volunteering…helps students have the opportunity to develop these skills in a real-life setting,” Cozzi said.
Community service can also provide an excellent platform to network within the community. In the digital age of LinkedIn, and countless other social media networks, knowing people has become more and more important. According to onlinecollege.org, this networking is one of the top 12 reasons to volunteer.
According to onlinecollege.org, a resume is significantly stronger when community service is added because it shows skills such as teamwork and problem solving. Volunteering can also be especially helpful when it is somehow related to a future career.
“You go to an employer and you say here’s my repertoire of things and you’ve volunteered for this nonprofit and this organization. That’s going to look really good and has helped me to mature and broaden my horizons on the large amount of careers or possibilities of things to do,” said Rachel Lapp, sustainability and global justice intern.
But, you should not volunteer solely to benefit yourself. You should find a topic or area you are passionate about and work from there. Community service becomes more enjoyable when you are serving in a context you are passionate about.
“I love the Earth and everything green…I was raised in the outdoors, fishing and camping and backpacking and all of those things. So I have a close personal connection to the Earth,” Lapp said.
I have personally found a passion in serving children with disabilities. Every Sunday morning when I wake up I want to hit the snooze button and stay in bed. But, then I remember the smiles I get to see on the children’s faces every week. and I roll out of bed. Once you find something you are passionate about it becomes less of a chore.
“It’s a humbling experience. You don’t do it because it’s fun, you don’t do it because it’s easy or it’s entertaining. You do it because it’s the right thing to do and because it’s your privilege,” Lapp said.
Start off small by pursuing something you have even a slight interest in. It doesn’t have to be with a huge organization or a typical service project but rather something you have a personal connection to. Then build from there and start realizing what areas you are passionate about.
“The main thing is you have to be open minded and willing to try new things and be flexible and not have all these expectations going into the situation. And I think that’s a great life thing to have in general,” Lapp said.
Serving in your community has many positive aspects and the Community Service Center on campus makes it easy to get involved. So instead of watching another episode of Netflix, find something you love and start serving.