Giving Back to Our Communities

Daniel Perelman, Reporter

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Have you ever considered volunteering? While it may not seem to be the most glamorous past time, volunteering is a highly important and beneficial activity that everybody should get a taste of. Volunteering regularly preserves valuable resources, promotes social interaction, and inspires the advancement of our society. Volunteering is a rewarding, lifelong opportunity that will not only impact and benefit your communities but can also make you a better person overall. These opportunities, however, often seem few and far between and even when you can secure one, something else always seems to come up. High school is one of the busiest times of one’s life, and between balancing a rigorous schedule of academics with sports and a social life, it’s no surprise that community service is one of the rarest activities on students’ college applications.

Volunteering

Photo by Wikimedia user Tungilik.

This trend, however, has taken a turn in recent years to indicate that community service is actually a highly influential factor in students’ success rates in high school, college, and even their post-educational lives. According to Business Insider, 72% of wealthy individuals volunteer 5 or more hours a month at local non-profits with some donating regularly to those same institutions. Of this same study, 86% of them like what they are doing. These statistics are not the result of some socio-economic anomaly, but rather, the result of successful individuals’ commitment and work ethic in relation with their passions. Volunteering, especially in areas you are passionate about, is clearly a strong indicator of future success for aspiring college-bound students. In addition to economic and social prosperity, the Corporation for National & Community Service links volunteering and community service to better overall health, including lower rates of mortality and depression. People who regularly participate in community service, even if just to read to children at a library or walk animal shelter dogs, are, on average, more active, fit, and involved in their communities.

 

Fortunately, there are several opportunities in the local area that are drives just minutes away from most local area codes. Even if your schedule is packed and you can only put in a few hours a month, you should still participate. There are plenty of factors pointing to volunteer work as a positive influence on people’s lives, and there are so many ways to get involved even on a small, local scale that it would be foolish to not explore and try out just one of the numerous opportunities available to you. There is a list here with some local opportunities to help you see your options and what is available to you.

 

Ronald McDonald House Charities

This charity organization is dedicated to servicing and benefiting the families of sick children who have to travel long distances for their hospital visits. This is a great cause that involves practical aspects such as making rooms, cleaning, giving tours, and providing assistance to families in need.

Elmbrook Humane Society

This animal shelter, dedicated to taking in and nurturing local pets from around the Elmbrook community, has plenty of opportunities to interact with animals and help them be adopted as well as staying active with tasks such as maintenance, feeding animals, and taking pets on walks.

Brookfield Public Library

The library is a great resource for diverse volunteer possibilities, including several, different ongoing workshops, classes, and programs geared towards educating and involving the younger children in the community.

There are also plenty of chances to volunteer in local community centers, churches, and recreational facilities that can be accessed through databases like United Way GMWC  where you can find unique ways to benefit your communities. Also, if there is a cause you are particularly passionate about and see a chance for greater involvement, make a suggestion to a STUCO delegate, and it may end up being a monthly service project. Overall, volunteering is a virtually essential activity that is sure to benefit your life in a number of positive ways and ought to be pursued as a lifelong endeavor to ensure future success.

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