The Arrow

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Students ought to participate in their community

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Students ought to participate in their community

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Hard work, waking up early, and ‘not important’ are just a few things that come to people’s minds when they hear the word volunteer. Many teenagers don’t realize the importance of giving back to their community. Teens tend to be caught up in their own lives and don’t realize that there are people in their community, their neighbors even, that desperately need their help. Volunteering benefits these people in need as well as the person volunteering. Volunteering is a great way to improve mental health, and giving back to your community is a great way to show your appreciation for everyone and everything in it.

There are many personal benefits to volunteering. Volunteering helps relieve stress, reduce anxiety and even ease depression. Focusing on something other than yourself for a while is a great distraction. Helping others gives many people a sense of meaning and purpose and can make people happier. You could even make lifelong friendships and build relationships with your neighbors and those in your community. Additionally, volunteer experiences look amazing on college applications and makes you feel like you are an integral part of the community.

You don’t have to be involved with a church or some organized volunteer group to participate in volunteer opportunities. If you feel like you can’t volunteer because you don’t know where to start, there are many volunteer opportunities available through the school, such as Zombie Fest, 5K’s, and even playing with elementary school students in the afternoon during their afterschool program. It is important to remember that if you choose a volunteer activity you enjoy, your personal experience and impact can be that much more meaningful.

If you are having a hard time finding a volunteer activity, make your own. It could be anything from a big charity event to a small fundraiser. Even the little things make differences in people’s lives.

There are so many ways you can help. Donate to food drives for families that wouldn’t have a Thanksgiving dinner without you. Volunteer at animal shelters and create a happy, loving environment for the animals. Be a role model for the children who are the future of your community. Encourage others to get involved and be a part of their neighborhood.

You can take your interests and turn them into a good cause that helps your community. I love to babysit, and I am very passionate about finding a cure for Alzheimer’s. Using these interests, I hosted a fundraiser a few years ago around the holidays where people could drop off their kids and do some holiday shopping. While the parents shopped, I played games, watched movies and did crafts with the kids. It wasn’t a complicated process, we just spread the word on social media and told a few friends. All the money we made went to the Alzheimer’s and Memory Care Center at Cameron Hall in Canton, Georgia. It was a huge success and the kids had fun.

Sure, you might have to wake up early on weekends sometimes; it is hard work, and you might have to put down your smartphone for a few hours, but the outcome and the reward of helping others makes it all worth it. There is so much bad in the world, we see it in the news and even within our own communities. Volunteering is a simple way to make a difference and a simple way to counteract the bad things by making people smile and changing their lives for the better.

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