When adults volunteer, they generally do so because they feel strongly about giving back to their community, they have deeply personal connections to a foundation or cause, and because it is a rewarding experience that makes them feel good about themselves. And rightfully so. Homeschooled students who volunteer can experience the same benefits, along with a few other perks. Let’s look at how homeschooled students can benefit from volunteering.
Leadership and Teamwork Experience
While homeschoolers certainly have a chance to participate in sports and other extracurricular activities, those opportunities aren’t as readily available as they are for students in traditional schools. Volunteering provides homeschoolers with opportunities to work on a team and even take the reins as a leader. These invaluable skills will undoubtedly be used later in life as they enter college and the workforce.
Volunteering opportunities are generally quite plentiful in most areas. Students can look into places such as nursing homes, animal shelters, food banks, homeless shelters and soup kitchens, local governments, and libraries, all of which typically gladly welcome volunteers.
As a homeschool parent, you know that the myths about the lack of socialization among homeschoolers are just that–myths. That said, any opportunity to build friendships and establish connections is a welcome one. Volunteering allows homeschooled students to form relationships with people of all ages who likely have similar interests and passions. These relationships may turn into lifelong friendships or even helpful references and recommendations for college and beyond.
Compelling College Applications
Colleges and universities place a high value on extracurricular activities, whether it’s in the form of sports, school clubs, student government, or volunteerism and service. When these institutions of higher learning review the thousands of applications and essays they receive each year, the ones that include these types of activities inevitably stand out from the crowd. Especially volunteering and service. Why?
To colleges, prospective students are more than just grades. They want to know what kind of person they are inviting into their “family” and whether the student will proudly represent the school through their actions. Volunteering allows prospective students to present–especially in essay form–to a college that they are a well-rounded, selfless person with good values and real-world experience who wants to help their community by dedicating time to a cause. This is extremely important for homeschooled students as well because, fair or not, homeschooled students often have to take an extra step in proving themselves to those who decide the admission of prospective college students. Volunteering, other clubs and activities, and good grades will go a long way toward helping a homeschooled student get admitted to the school of their choice.
Opportunity for College Scholarships
Similarly, colleges and other institutions don’t simply hand out money to students solely based on academic performance. Good grades certainly help the cause, but colleges and companies that offer scholarships are looking for more, namely extracurricular activities and volunteer experience that demonstrate a student’s desire to excel in areas besides academics.
There are seemingly endless sources of scholarships (you just have to find them!), including community service scholarships that can be significant–and perfect for homeschool students with volunteer and/or community service experience. Given the cost of college these days, trying to secure as much scholarship money as possible can make a big difference financially. But most students won’t reap the benefits of that money if they’re not involved in other activities, including volunteering.
Better Sense of Responsibility and Maturity
Regardless of education, students who volunteer gain invaluable life experience as they step into situations where they must work selflessly and often collaboratively with others for the greater good. The work and responsibilities may not be glamorous, but at the end of the day, these volunteer students know they made a difference in someone else’s life or impacted the planet or environment through their good deeds.
This type of accomplishment helps kids better understand the world around them and removes them from their day-to-day comfort zones, placing them in new situations from which they can gain valuable experience. Volunteering accelerates a teen’s maturity and growth by placing them in situations where they can show compassion and empathy and ultimately make a positive difference. Learning these types of skills and emotions prepares them for the next stage in life (often college or the workforce) and instills values that they’ll carry with them throughout their lives as they strive to be model citizens and inspirations for other people.
How Homeschoolers Can Find Volunteering Opportunities
There are plenty of avenues through which homeschooled students can find volunteer positions in their community. Here are a few:
- Look up local organizations on social media and inquire about volunteering opportunities, if they haven’t already posted for them.
- Call your local organizations to see whether they’re looking for volunteers.
- Ask around. You never know who among your friends, family, and neighbors might have a connection to a local organization.
- Check out websites like Volunteer Match, which can connect you to places near you that are searching for volunteers.
Volunteering is a win from every angle. Homeschooled students who volunteer gain valuable real-world experience, they create an impressive resume for college and beyond, they learn how to lead and work within a team, and they provide service to those in need. At Bridgeway Academy, volunteerism and community service are an integral part of every student’s education. It’s also something that Bridgeway believes in passionately.
As a homeschool academy, we participate in Global Youth Service Day and Compassion International’s Act for Compassion community service initiative. These are amazing opportunities to not only give back to the community but for our students to gain wonderful volunteer experience that they can reflect upon for the rest of their lives while inspiring others to be good citizens as well.
Read about recent Bridgeway Academy graduate Arianna Anderson, the recipient of our 2022 Outstanding Service Award, and Grace Probst, a recent Bridgeway graduate who takes community service to a new level. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, read about how to give back to your community at this time of year.