Student Life

7 Ways Students Can Give Back in Their Communities

Take a look at these ideas—volunteer work can benefit you and benefit others at the same time.

Student Contributor, Mary Bellm

November 23, 2021

7 Ways Students Can Give Back in Their Communities
In addition to helping local communities, volunteering is a big plus for students.
Volunteering is not only something for the high achievers to be doing. As a student, it shows you are willing to dedicate your time to bettering the world around you, and usually, your volunteering takes place in a local capacity so it’s fairly easy to see the results of your hard work! Now, volunteering is not on applications to show how much of a good person you are—it’s a way to show scholarship officials that you are able to keep up with your obligations and assist others at the same time, which leads to trust in your work ethic and future endeavors. Scholarships that are volunteer-based or require you to be actively volunteering are a great way to grab some extra scholarship money!

Young Women in Public Affairs Award

The Zonta International Foundation has awarded 971 scholarships to 819 women since 1990. Women ages 16 to 19 in eligible Zonta districts and regions (or who are citizens of a Zonta country) are eligible for the Young Women in Public Affairs Award. Here is a further breakdown of the awards: • District recipients receive $1,500 • 10 international recipients (selected from among the district recipients) receive an additional $5,000 • Recipients must exhibit a record of leadership achievements.

GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship Program

The GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship Program provides students with scholarships for volunteering and community service. It looks for high school seniors — students on U.S. Armed Forces bases or those being home-schooled are also eligible — who demonstrate “exemplary leadership, drive, integrity, and citizenship.” Winners receive $10,000 a year (up to $40,000 total), which they can put toward their cost of attendance, specifically tuition, fees, books, supplies or room and board.

The Equitable Foundation Scholarship

The Equitable Foundation has awarded over $30 million in community service scholarships to students throughout the country. Its Equitable Excellence Scholarship is available to students who “demonstrate courage, strength and wisdom as shown by community impact through volunteer service.” Students, who must be high school seniors, can earn scholarships worth $2,500, $10,000 or $25,000. The winners’ schools also earn a $1,000 grant. In addition to scholarships, there are other uses for your volunteering! Have you ever wondered how you can have a bigger impact on those around you? Here are some wonderful ways to give back to your community!
  1. Volunteer Your Time If I’m not able to donate money or products, I donate my time! It’s a great use of your time to volunteer if you have a community garden since they are a lot of work and take many people to run. If you live where your neighbors have lawns, you can offer to mow or rake leaves, depending on the season!
  2. Do a Local Service Project! If you see a need in your community, gather a group of people and begin a service project! This doesn’t have to be picking up trash—try hosting a bake sale for a certain charity or doing a car wash!
  3. Share Your Skills If you have a talent, you can use that to help your community! You can share your skills through extracurriculars that double as community work, like a bake sale, talent show, or community projects.
  4. Offer to Help Your Neighbors This one is only if you know your neighbors incredibly well. If you volunteer to walk someone’s dog, wash someone’s car, or take care of their plants while they are away, you are definitely helping out your local community. Bonus, they might offer to help you back in the future!
  5. Share Your Pet! Any time I get to spend with a pet is time well spent! If you have an animal and some of your friends or community members don’t, take your pet to a place where they can get some affection! Veteran’s clubs, hospitals, clinics, parks, and neighborhoods are all great locations to share your pet with others. If you don’t have a pet to share, you could head to the shelter and spend some time with the pets there!
  6. Tutor Younger Kids, or Spend Your Time with Older People! If you’re wanting to spend some time with a different age group, try offering to tutor some younger kids in subjects you excel at or volunteering to talk with older individuals! You could also visit senior or child centers and help the individuals running the institutions by using your time to help with tasks they need done.
  7. Extra Ingredients? Put Them to Good Use! If you’re cooking a meal or baking for some fun, why not double the recipe? Making a little extra and leaving it or giving it to others is a great way to help your local community. If you think you aren’t going to use some of the ingredients you have, dropping them off at a local food pantry is also a good way to serve some individuals in your community.
In addition to helping others, your volunteer work can help you! It’s a useful item to write about for essays, especially if they are scholarship essays. If you’re a part of the workforce, volunteering can be a benefit to your company! Sometimes they partner with charities, or some companies will give you time to volunteer. Volunteering as a student may be difficult to fit in around all of the tests, homework, and extracurriculars; but nonetheless, it is very important to remember to include in your schedule! In addition to feeling better about working hard for others, it is a good thing that benefits many people. If you are able to volunteer in a large capacity, that’s great! If you only have a limited amount of time to share helping others, that’s ok too. Volunteering shouldn’t be judged on volume or quality, and any amount that you are able to give of yourself counts. Be sure to mark down a contact for where you are volunteering, since they can be a great character reference in the future; or you can contact them if you are staying local after high school to continue volunteering!

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