Why Volunteer?

What is volunteering? 

To volunteer is to give your time as a gift to help people.

There are many ways to volunteer.  Some people teach children how to read for free.  Some people help build houses for free to give affordable housing to people who need a place to live.  Other people volunteer their time to make and serve food to the homeless and the hungry.

Millions of Americans volunteer every year.  In North Carolina, more than 25% of people volunteer formally in their community.  That’s 1,970,000 people who volunteer in North Carolina.

Why do so many Americans volunteer their time for free?

  • Volunteers learn new skills.  A skill is an ability that is useful for work or for life.  Some examples of skills are teaching, cooking, using computers, carpentry, construction, medicine, translation, and cleaning.  When you volunteer, you learn how to do new things.
  • Volunteers meet new people.  Volunteering is a great way to make new friends.  Some people also volunteer with their friends and family to strengthen old friendships.  Volunteers sometimes meet future employers while volunteering.
  • People volunteer their time now, so they can find work later.  Some companies hire people who volunteer for them.  Sometimes a friend that you meet while volunteering has an idea for a job for you or can recommend you for a job.  If you work hard as a volunteer, you may be able to use the volunteer manager as a reference, when you apply for a job later.  A reference is a person who says good things about you to help you get a job.  Most job applications ask you to give three references.
  • Americans volunteer because it feels good to help people.  It feels good to belong to a community and help people who need help.

Why is it a good idea for you to volunteer?

  • Volunteering is a fantastic way to improve your English!  Most volunteer jobs involve a lot of conversation.  There are opportunities for students of all English levels to practice.  The volunteer managers will help you find a volunteer job that is perfect for your level of English.
  • Volunteering can help you to learn about American culture.  If you volunteer, you will meet a lot of Americans and have interesting experiences that help you to learn about life here in North Carolina.
  • Volunteering can help you to make friends.  You will meet many new people if you volunteer at the same place many times.  You will begin to see a lot of the same people.  This is a great way to make friends.
  • Volunteering can help you to find a job.  If you work hard as a volunteer, the volunteer manager may someday offer you a job.  You can also ask your volunteer manager and other friends that you meet while volunteering for a reference, when you are applying for a job.  Sometimes, friends that you meet while volunteering offer to help you get a job at their company.  Here are some things that you can do to increase your chances of getting good references and finding a job while volunteering:
    • Volunteer at the same place many times.
    • Always come on-time to each volunteer shift.  If your volunteer manager asks you to begin volunteering at 9:00am, it may be a good idea to come at 8:50am.
    • If you are going to be late or if you can not come to your volunteer shift, always call before your shift begins to tell the volunteer manager.  Try not to be late or miss a shift often.  Only commit to volunteer if you know that you have time.
    • Talk to as many people as possible, while you volunteer.
    • Ask questions and learn how to do your volunteer job well.
  • You can learn new skills, while helping people.  Volunteer managers usually teach volunteers how to do something new.  For example, when I volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, I knew nothing about construction.  The volunteer manager taught me how to paint, use tools, and cut the siding for the houses we were building.  I learned many new things and had the opportunity to meet many nice people, including the families who were going to buy each house after helping to build their house.

Where can you go to volunteer?

Here is a list of places where you can volunteer.  I will continue to add to this list over time:

Have you volunteered before in the United States or in your country?  If you have never volunteered, what volunteer jobs would you like to try?

Type about your experiences and interests under “Leave a Reply” and tell us about it!

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One thought on “Why Volunteer?

  1. I’d love to volunteer as administrative assistant or as kitchen helper because I like to help people, I will increase my fluency and knowing people is the best part !

    I’m new in this country and have free time after leaving my child at school or in the afternoons.

    English level: lower advance

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