Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community and make a difference. Use this book to identify some volunteer opportunities that are a good fit with your needs and interests. Some of the reasons students select one specific area of volunteer work over another is that they are looking for work that will:
- Match issues about which they feel strongly.
- Lead to learning new skills.
- Help them deal with some of their own personal issues.
- Meet new people and break down barriers of misunderstanding, mistrust, or fear.
- Fit well into their busy schedules - location, day, or time.
- Maximize the competencies they have to offer.
- Increase contact with a specific population they find -satisfaction in helping; such as the elderly, children, or the homeless.
Finding a "Good Fit" Volunteer Opportunity
When exploring volunteer opportunities, we advise that you do the following:
- Contact the organization and inquire about their specific needs at this time. What will you be doing to help?
- Assess your strengths and weaknesses. Utilize your strengths by making a contribution to an organization by doing critical work. Or, expand your skills by tackling challenges in a new environment.
- Ensure finding a "good fit" volunteer opportunity, by taking the time to explore various causes, projects, and communities. Feel free to consider your interests beyond health. For example; the environment, social services, world hunger, education, or animal welfare. You may want to look at UAB projects or helping the homeless, the elderly, children, or a faith-based initiative.
- Distinguish between work where you are giving (i.e. volunteering in a clinical setting), from those experiences where you are receiving (i.e. such as shadowing a physician). Keep in mind, by volunteering your services you are strengthening our communities.
- Make sure that you are making a realistic commitment. Remember, they will be counting on your services.