By Jenna Stinnet | firstname.lastname@example.org
It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself. —Ralph Waldo Emerson
Many of us in high school were required to do volunteer hours. I do believe I was one of the few who had all my 100 hours for graduation done by my freshman year. I love volunteering. I can’t help it and I constantly get weird responses when I tell people I’ve decided to take my journalism and my psychology majors and make a career in non-profit work, basically, volunteering for a living. I cannot imagine doing anything else.
Once I arrived at Flagler I began searching for ways to get back involved in the community. Service clubs on campus didn’t really fit into my schedule. So I began to look outside the Flagler campus. What I found was a full array of possibilities. So if you’re like me and interested in getting involved in a big or a little way here are some of my favorites.
– Betty Griffin House: A safety shelter for women and children as well as a 24-hour crisis hot line and sexual assault response team.
Who to contact: Kim Collins, Community Awareness Coordinator (904)808-8544, www.bettygriffinhouse.org
– Big Brothers Big Sisters: My personal favorite. If you don’t have a lot of time but want to make a BIG difference. It only takes one hour a week mentoring at a second or fifth grader’s school. The match is tailored to your preferences so you can be sure you’ll be spending time with someone you’ll enjoy.
Who to contact: Jennifer Tassel, Match Support Specialist, www.epiccommunityservices.org
-The First Tee: If you like golf then this is a perfect program for you. The First Tee is a program that teaches young valuable life skills, such as honesty, integrity and sportsmanship through the game of golf.
Who to contact: www.thefirstteesjc.org
– St. Francis House: Help St. Augustine’s homeless population at the only full-time emergency shelter between Jacksonville and Daytona, serving four counties.
Who to contact: (904)829-8937 www.stfrancisshelter.org
– The Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra: If you love arts and only have a little time to offer than this is for you. They ensure that the arts are a fundamental part of the community through classes for children and adults, exhibitions of artists and outreach programs for underserved children.
Who to contact: www.ccpvb.org
If none of these sounds like a volunteer experience you would enjoy than I encourage you to visit www.firstcoastunitedway.org and look at their partner agencies. There you can find a complete list of ways to get involved that will fit your personal interests. No matter what your major and interests you can find something you will enjoy while giving back to the community.
There are many reasons to volunteer, resume building (FYI: it looks good when you do things for others), self-gratification, contacts, chance to walk in someone else’s shoes, etc.
But the greatest reason I could think of to volunteer is this: volunteering can be an exciting, growing, enjoyable experience. It is truly gratifying to serve a cause, practice one’s ideals, work with people, solve problems, see benefits and know you had a hand in them.
And if you think you can’t volunteer because you’re not qualified Martin Luther King Jr. said this “Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”
Even if it’s a one-time occurrence, make it a goal to give back this semester. I guarantee you won’t regret it.