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Why Volunteer?

Volunteering makes good sense. Read on to find out why even your parents might think it's a good idea:


It's tough getting a first job. Employers all want to hire people with experience. A year of service can pack your resume with the real job experience you need. Many volunteer agencies actually create a job tailored to what you want because they really need your skills.


If you are one of the many people that discovered half-way through college that your major isn't really you, but you stuck with it anyway, a year of service is ideal for you. You will get valuable work experience that can open doors to the area you are really interested in. Even if you love your major, any secondary expertise makes you more attractive to future employers and helps you grow as a person.


By doing a year of service, you leave behind the cold study of social problems and meet real people who work to make change happen.  With them, you do more than talk about the problem, you become part of real solutions.  You become food for hungry families, shelter for homeless people, teacher for the uneducated, translator for the international community, etc. Most volunteers also stress how good it feels to "give back" to the community in appreciation of all the blessings they have received.


Maybe you have always wanted to spend a year or two in another country, learning about a new country.  Or maybe you've never lived and worked in the low-income part of town, but feel drawn to experience what that is like.  Whether you end up helping farmers to form a co-op in Tanzania or tutor at-risk children in the south side of Chicago or work at a radio station in a part of Alaska where you have to fly in or out because there are no roads to your little town, you are sure to have an adventure!


Many volunteer programs provide not only housing, but the great kind of community experience students have grown accustomed to in their years at UD: young adults with similar experiences and values coming home in the evening to talk about the highs and lows of their days. A good number of these programs are run by Christian organizations who encourage the community to share prayer together, share meals together, and go on retreat together.


Sure, there are a few people who volunteer in their 30's, 40's, or after they retire, but not many. Family responsibilities, careers, home ownership and other commitments often prevent people from full-time volunteering it later in life. Being in your early 20's, just out of college, is the best time of your life to do something adventurous and rewarding. Because of all the benefits to society and to you, deferments of student loans and graduate/medical/law school acceptance are usually available. So, what are you waiting for?

What about your parents?

You may be sold on the idea of volunteering, but your parents may not be. Many former volunteers have had that experience. While you can't force your parents to support your decision to volunteer, there is much that you can do to gain their respect and support. Here's some advise from former volunteers:

  • Be organized. Your parents won't take you seriously unless you are serious. Investigate as many programs and positions as possible. Your diligence will impress your parents.
  • Include them. Your parents need to feel included in your decision. Even after you decided to volunteer, they will need to know that you want them to be a part of your life and that you want their support during your volunteer experience.
  • Give them time. It took you time to decide to volunteer. Your parents will need time to adjust to the idea too. Even though it is your life, it's important to understand your parents' perspectives. You are probably their most important investment. So, give them time to adjust their expectations for you. You may be surprised at their eventual understanding, or even excitement.
  • Share your resources. Think about what really made you decide to volunteer and share that with your parents. Introduce them to a person who inspired you to volunteer or share with them a book or article you found helpful.

Campus Ministry's Center for Social Concern

Liberty Hall
300 College Park Ave.
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 0408
CSC Website