How to Make the Most of Summer Volunteer Work
The Christmas holidays are fast approaching, and students are looking forward to a well-earned break. While it’s important to take time out to relax, the reality is that it often doesn’t take long for boredom to set in.
One way to keep kids busy and give them an enriching experience is through summer volunteer work. There are opportunities available to suit every student.
Through summer volunteer work kids can:
Build Career Skills
This is particularly relevant for Yr 12 students who have finished school and are waiting to start university. These free months provide an invaluable opportunity to hone skills and make important contacts for the future.
To build career skills, students should find a volunteer role that relates to their chosen field. Future teachers can work with young kids, while budding vets might find a role working with animals. There are plenty of opportunities to assist disadvantaged people for those interested in the caring professions.
For students who are unsure of their career path, volunteer work gives them a chance to try out different things and find out what suits them.
Good communication skills are needed for just about everything. Many experts are concerned that students today are losing their ability to communicate effectively in person because they spend so much time on devices.
Volunteer work over the summer break encourages kids to ditch their devices for some face-to-face contact. It also allows students to meet people outside their social bubble. The ability to appreciate diversity and communicate with people from a wide range of backgrounds is very helpful because it boosts confidence and fosters empathy.
To make the most of summer volunteer work, it’s a great idea for students to step outside their comfort zone and try something completely different. Not only does this expand their horizons, it also helps to build resilience.
The great thing about volunteer work is that there’s no pressure to excel. This allows students to try new things without anxiety or fear or failure. Some interesting opportunities include helping prepare and serve Christmas lunch to the homeless or even working as an SES cadet volunteer. This involves learning all about search and rescue operations.
There’s no better way to develop an ‘attitude of gratitude’ than by helping other people. Volunteering allows students to contribute to their community in a range of ways, from activities like preparing food hampers to planting trees and cleaning up parks and public spaces.
Contributing to solutions builds self-esteem and helps combat anxiety and depression. Feeling a sense of gratitude has been found to improve stress levels and boost happiness and optimism.
Volunteer work imparts important life skills, but it also needs to be enjoyable. When they’re having fun, children are more likely to retain skills and want to continue in the role.
It’s important to find a volunteer job that suits your child’s personality. If they really don’t like it, encourage them to persevere for a little while, but don’t force them to do something they don’t want to. There are plenty of other roles available so chalk it up to experience and find something else.
A meaningful summer volunteering experience can have a long-lasting impact.