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Considering volunteering while you’re in high school?

There’s lots of great reasons to volunteer, just as there’s many amazing ways to volunteer.

We recently spoke with Jesse (14) and Shannon (15) about their experiences volunteering:

Jesse

I first decided to volunteer with my local Surf Life Saving club because my mum and older siblings were already doing it. I’ve been volunteering for the last 6 months and it’s been awesome! I’m learning heaps of stuff like how to give first aid, and I’m having heaps of fun at the same time. I’ve made lots of friends there and it’s something I look forward to doing. Also, i’m thinking that I might want to be a Paramedic when i’m older, so this is giving me a good start!

Shannon

I have always been an animal lover, so making the decision to volunteer with the RSPCA felt pretty natural for me. I love being with animals, so I get to do that for hours now! It’s not all playing with animals though, I do have a fair bit of responsibility with the work I do – but I feel really proud of myself because of that. I feel a lot more confident and prepared for getting a job as well. I’ve even gotten a couple of my friends from school interested!

Sounds pretty good right? Here’s some other benefits of volunteering in high school:

Becoming more social

You’ll have the opportunity to volunteer alongside a range of people which will create opportunities to socialise and make new friendships. Outside of the team that you work with, depending on where you choose to volunteer, you’ll be meeting and interacting with a range of people in the community as well. It may push you out of your comfort zone, but you’ll gain confidence and great social skills while connecting with others.

Find purpose

As a volunteer, you are working towards a goal, and that gives you purpose. Who knows, you might even find that there are aspects of the volunteer work that you really like and will want to pursue as part of your career.

Grow your skill set

There’s a bunch of things you’ll learn while volunteering. While that may include more obvious things like cash handling, persuasive speaking or writing, there’s a whole list of skills that may seem less obvious that you are picking up along the way like:

  • Leadership
  • Problem solving
  • Working in a team
  • Respect
  • Communication

Improve your resume

When it comes to applying for jobs, volunteering experience will give you a leg up on other applicants who may only have some basic computer skills and casual employment to list. Volunteering shows that you have gained a number of skills, have a passion for the area of work and are willing to put in the hard yards without money being the only motivation.

It reflects well on your character

In short – it makes you feel good and helps keep you mentally and physically active. Putting in the time to volunteer when you could be doing other things shows that you will willingly put others before yourself. And because you can fit it into your schedule, it shows that you have good time management and are highly responsible. Those are all great qualities that employers look for. But aside from looking good on your resume, it’s something that you can be proud of in your personal life as well.

Dip your toes in an industry you’re interested in

Have something that you’re interested in doing as a career? Maybe there’s something that you like doing in your spare time like gardening or looking after your pets? Volunteering is a great way to get real-world experience in a way that lets you tap into the things you enjoy. For example, if you like working with animals, you may want to see if the RSPCA has any volunteering opportunities going.

It’s a great option as well if you’re a little too young to start working, but still want to get experience; just be sure to chat about it with a trusted adult to make sure they are comfortable with you volunteering. Otherwise, you could try volunteering with a friend or a family member.

And if there isn’t one super obvious thing that you are passionate about – that’s okay as well. Volunteering can still give you a good look at the things you like and don’t like, and that can help you find ‘your different’.

So if you’re thinking of volunteering, take a look around for some causes that grab your interest. Another great place to start is checking out what’s available on Volunteering Queensland.

Keep in mind though, some volunteer work has age limits in place for your’s and other’s safety, like the SES for example (you’ll need to be 16 to sign up).

Here’s some volunteering options to help inspire you:

  • Serving food/drinks at your local sports club
  • Joining the Care Army
  • Working at your local thrift shop
  • Volunteering as a museum attendant
  • Being a telephone operator for a charitable organisation

If you are looking for more information about volunteering, go to our support page.