Category Archives: Volunteering and Giving Back

College Students Giving Back

Filed under: College Life, Tips, Volunteering and Giving Back - Angelina
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Megan Lehman Blogger Biography

 

 

 

 

College is overwhelming. When you are not studying, you are working. When you are not working, you are probably trying to have a social life right? And when you are having a social life, you are feeling guilty about not studying. Or is that just me?

Us college students need an escape from school, work, and the crazy social scene.  What do I recommend? Volunteering. I am serious! I have been taking some time this year to step back, and look past all the studying, working, and craziness, and start something worthwhile. Are you interested in getting in on this? Well, here is a little bit of advice to get you started.

1.Be a Big Brother / Big Sister

There is nothing more important than being a role model for someone. Whether you are already a biological older sibling, it does not matter. You can be the difference in someone’s life. And all it takes is an hour or two a week. That is all. You can cut out a bit of the craziness, right?

Big Brother and Big Sister Program Volunteering

Photo © BostonCollegeFlickr

2. World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine

Do you have a passion and desire to help people all over the world? Did you know that a small child dies every 15 seconds from hunger or hunger related illnesses? By signing up for the World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine, giving up food for a mere 30 hours, and doing activities that are similar to the daily actions of someone who is actually living hungry, you can do so much to change lives. You might even change yourself while you’re at it.

World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine Volunteer Group

Photo © Pei Chen

3. Dance Marathon

For the kids! Come out and have fun with your friends dancing the night away at the Dance Marathon. You will not only be making memories, you’ll be raising money for the Children’s Miracle Network. You would be one pretty awesome dude.

Volunteer Dance Marathon

Photo © pennstatelive

Ask anyone involved in these programs how incredible they are and they will tell you exactly what I am about it; they are more than worth it. Yes, we are in college and finding time to sleep is hard enough. But finding time to give to others is worth so much more than a couple of zzz’s, don’t you think?

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Thanksgiving

Filed under: College Life, Food, Seasonal Celebrations, Social Life/Relationships, Tips, Volunteering and Giving Back - Angelina
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Bailey Buckingham Blogger Bio

 

 

 

 

Not going home for Thanksgiving? Not a problem. I’ve been through this several times over the years, so I’m going to share a few things I’ve done to make sure that my holiday was still great! Nothing can make you stop missing your family, but there are a few things you can do to make sure you’re not just sitting on the couch watching TV all day stuck at school!

Orange Thanksgiving Pumpkin Decoration

Photo © Mike Cohn

1. Invite Friends For Dinner

I did this a few years ago, and it turned out to be one of my favorite Thanksgiving’s! At this point in my life, I had NO idea how to cook a turkey so, I bought an already cooked turkey! Who cares where it comes from? I know that I didn’t have to have a turkey at all, but I wanted to keep with the tradition. It was delicious and my friends really appreciated it! We had so much fun sharing stories about past holidays with our crazy families, and we all enjoyed the time we got to spend together.

2. Volunteer

Last year, I decided to find a shelter that was serving dinner to the homeless! I figured, if I couldn’t be served turkey, then I’ll serve it to someone else! It was probably the most rewarding time I’ve ever spent. It really put into perspective the essence of THANKSgiving. Not only was I spending time with amazing people, I was doing my part for my new community. Sometimes all it takes is little reminders to turn your attitude around, and volunteering can definitely do that!

3. Find A Walk/Run

There are ALWAYS charity runs or walks going on Thanksgiving day, I promise. I’ve never done one before, but I’ve heard about them in every city I’ve lived in. This year will be my first, and yes, I am totally dressing up like a turkey. You get to meet people, have fun, exercise AND you can be silly like me and dress up! I can’t wait!

 

It’s always a bummer when you can go home to see your family for the holidays, but you can’t let that keep you in bed! Get out and celebrate the holiday for what it truly means. Be thankful for who you are, and where you are. Who knows, you could end up having the best Thanksgiving of your life!

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Life After College: Now What?

Filed under: Post Grad and Career, Travel & Abroad, Volunteering and Giving Back - Social Community Manager
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bio of girl

 

 

 

 

Graduating from college is a huge accomplishment, and it’s even more wonderful if you have already secured a post-grad job… but what about those of us who haven’t? Your happy little moment of celebration can easily be soured with the reminder that you don’t have your foot in the job market yet, but rest assured, there are plenty of options for the unemployed undergrad.

peace corps

Photo © oar4me

Join the Peace Corps

Train for six months, serve for one to two years in another country with a monthly allowance, and get paid $7,500 for your work? Yes please! There are about nine different categories volunteer work falls under, from Education and Health to HIV/AIDS and Business. Connect with a recruiter in your area to find out more about the application process, but it’s best to start early if you want to be volunteering within six months. You might not get to pick which country you go to because it’s all based on the needs of what skills you have, but it’s a great opportunity to travel, make a difference in the world, and take a break from school to let the economy recover before you job search. Not to mention, it will look great on your resume! Side note: the other option is to do Americorps, which recruits volunteers to serve here in the U.S..

Teach English as foreign language (TEFL)

english as a foreign language

Photo © seetefl

Become certified to teach English in another country in as little as 4-6 weeks and all online! You may be able to find a program overseas that doesn’t require you to be

certified, but most employers look for people who are. With the TEFL certificate, you can teach in a variety of countries, such as Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, European countries, and South America. If you think you might want to teach, consider the very basic TEFL certificate. Even with the basic certificate, it’s a great resource to have if you want the means to live anywhere you wish. 

Just travel

map for travel

Photo © Cali4beach

A lot of people I’ve talked to seem to have one thing in common as far as what they regretted not doing after college: traveling. If you have long lost relatives overseas, take advantage of the connection and give them a call or send an email to catch up. Usually, families are more than welcoming when it comes to hosting. Since housing and food is already hooked up, all you’ll have to worry about is your round-trip plane ticket (assuming you want to come home!).

Still feeling stuck? It’s important to remember not to panic. You always have options; just put the time and research into seeing exactly what they are. The more research you do on your own, the better you’ll feel and the better choice you’ll make.

 

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The One Thing Missing From Your Resumé

Filed under: Volunteering and Giving Back - Social Community Manager
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photo of girlBy guest blogger Serena Piper
Journalism major at the University of Oregon. Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus Oregon. Magazine, freelance blogger, future world traveler. In her spare time, she likes to read as many books as she can, go for long drives, and peruse news websites. Hopes to one day write for National Geographic.

Stop what you’re doing and check your resumé.

Is there a section devoted to your volunteer experience? If not, maybe you should think twice about what you have planned for this summer. A lot of students hesitate to volunteer if it’s not required for school, a scholarship, or, heaven forbid, paying off a debt to society. But there’s something you should know: it’s not only personally rewarding, but it matters more to employers than you may think.

In my previous post about volunteering, I mentioned my experience at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lane County, Oregon – and I can’t tell you how many opportunities I’ve snagged simply based off of this. Although listed at the bottom of my resumé, most employers have always asked about my experience at BBBS during the interview. BBBS has a lot of sponsors, so they have a ton of support what they do for at-risk youth. Keep in mind, this can be key to networking post-grad.

What volunteering says about you

Volunteering says that you are reliable and dedicated to showing up to the job even if it’s unpaid. Showing you care about your community says a lot about the type of person you are, so think about what you’re passionate about, and then find an organization that matches. Volunteerships are just like jobs: if you like what you’re doing, it doesn’t feel like work.

But volunteering is not all about what’s on your resume, either. I’ve made a lot of connections and friends I might not otherwise have made. Over the years, I’ve written numerous articles about BBBS, I’m constantly telling friends about volunteer opportunities, and I’ve even spoke to a room of 500 people at BBBS’ annual Fall breakfast about how mentoring has influenced my life.

If you’re feeling defeated and discouraged by how long it’s taking for you to complete your college degree, volunteering will give you immediate results every time you do it. If you volunteer at an animal shelter, you’ll see animals adopted every day; if you volunteer at a homeless shelter, you’ll dish out a meal the people you serve couldn’t be more grateful for.

In the end, volunteering isn’t just about donating your time. It’s about becoming a better person through generosity; giving your time to a person or place that could really use it, even though you have a million other things you could be doing. And it’s amazing how something seemingly so small can mean so much to someone else, but also be incredibly humbling.

 

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A Volunteer How-To

Filed under: College Life, Volunteering and Giving Back - BookRenter Team
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By guest blogger Serena Piper
Journalism major at the University of Oregon. Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus Oregon. Magazine, freelance blogger, future world traveler. In her spare time, she likes to read as many books as she can, go for long drives, and peruse news websites. Hopes to one day write for National Geographic.

Extracurricular requirements can play a pretty big part in our college career. Whether or not we’ve done any volunteering shows future employers not only what we’re passionate about, but also that we took on the extra effort, even though we may have already been swamped with our class load or part-time job. Luckily, there is no requirement for how long you have to volunteer at an organization (although it is preferable that you stick with it for longer than, say, 3 weeks); they can always use the extra help.

What’s even luckier is that there are many organizations central to a lot of different cities, so no matter where you are for school, if you find one you like, you can stick with it long after you’ve graduated! Like, for example…

BigBrothersBigSisters

This non-profit organization’s mission is to match a mentor with a mentee age 6-18, and help improve youth self-esteem through one-to-one relationships. Mentors and mentees hang out once per week and do fun things like rock-climbing, white water rafting, and attending sports events. Bonus: they even offer college credit!

HumaneSocietyoftheU.S.

If you volunteer for the Humane Society, you have the opportunity to walk and play with the animals. Photo by Travel Salem.

If you’re living in the dorms and policy says you can’t have an animal, the Humane Society is your ticket to cuddling up with a furry buddy. Volunteers are the keys to adoption at the Humane Society. Who exercises the animals and makes them more sociable and adoptable? Volunteers. What better way to spend your free time than helping a critter find its new home?

ProLiteracy

Another non-profit organization that supports the people and programs that help adults learn to read and write, ProLiteracy works not just in the U.S, but internationally as well. Volunteers help with G.E.D. preparation and English as a second language, and assist middle schoolers/high schoolers with test preparation in reading, writing, and mathematics.

What you should know before volunteering:

  • When you find an organization you like, be up front on your volunteer application. Let them know what your time commitment is and of any schedule restraints you have.
  • Sometimes you’re going to get a little dirty! Unless you choose to volunteer in a nice clean office, you might get a little muddy or a little hairy. For example, if you don’t want to chance ruining your favorite pair of Levis, you might not want to volunteer at a horse ranch. Try to find an organization where you’ll be less concerned with what you look like, and more concerned with the mission at hand.
  • Attitude is everything. Find an organization you actually like, otherwise it won’t be as pleasant an experience as it could be. Remember you’re there to help in any way you can, so if you show some enthusiasm, there’s always the possibility of a letter of recommendation, or even a job offer down the road.
  • Don’t assume that just because you’re one person, you can’t make a difference. No, you aren’t Superman, but as cheesy as it sounds, you might be exactly that to a youth at risk, or an animal needing advocacy. One person can get a lot done, so don’t underestimate yourself and your ability to contribute!

How to Connect:

If you still haven’t found what you are looking for, head over to volunteermatch.org. They’ve got a whole archive of opportunities so you’re bound to find something you like.

Good luck with your search!

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