"I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve." — Albert Schweitzer

Students volunteering at the Greater Birmingham Humane Society on Into the Streets community outreach day. Students bathe a puppy while volunteering at the Greater Birmingham Humane Society. Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community and make a difference. It also gives you experience and skills that are valued by employers and graduate schools. And, of course, it is a way for you to meet new people, go new places, and expand your horizons.

Finding the Right Volunteer Opportunity

When exploring volunteer opportunities, we advise that you do the following:
  • Contact the organization and inquire about their specific needs. 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 by taking the time to explore various causes, projects, and communities. Feel free to consider your interests beyond your major or intended career. You may want to look at UAB projects or helping the homeless, the elderly, children, or a faith-based initiative, or get involved in the environment, social services, world hunger, education, or animal welfare.
  • Distinguish between work where you are giving (i.e. volunteering in the community), from those experiences where you are receiving. Keep in mind that 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.