A generation ago, community service was a punishment imposed on juvenile offenders. Maybe that’s because the good students weren’t exactly jumping out of bed at 8am on a Saturday morning to serve hot meals at a local shelter or collect trash at a local park. Today, though, more and more students are giving up their leisure time to help out their communities.
There are three main reasons why students usually volunteer:
- Some students accumulate community-service hours because it’s a requirement for graduation or scholarships.
- Other students have found that doing community service gives them an edge among the college-bound competition.
- Still, other students volunteer their time because they like helping people.
Most high schools in Cortland County require community service for graduation. While this may seem like a chore for you, you’ll value your experience in the long run. In Cortland county alone, there are over 20 food pantries, 6 homeless shelters, and 7 soup kitchens. While most of these organizations are run out of churches, they don’t always have the church members volunteering; here’s where you come in. You don’t have to know how to cook, you just have to know how to smile, say “hi”, and ask someone how their day was.
Our generation was raised to take advantage of the opportunities we have, but we rarely appreciate them. We utilize them to get us far in life, as long as they only benefit us. When we volunteer at a community center, homeless shelter, or soup kitchen, we are openly engaging in the world around us and caring for other people and their well-being, not just our own.
A recent study from UnitedHealth Group reveals that 76% of young U.S. adults who volunteer report that volunteering has made them feel physically healthier, and 78% report that volunteering lowers their levels of stress, leading to feeling better than young adults who do not volunteer. The study also illustrates that employers benefit from employees who volunteer in terms of better employee health and in professional-skills development that employees use in the workplace.
The study reveals four key benefits of volunteering that make a positive impact on people’s health:
- Health: volunteers say that they feel better – physically, mentally and emotionally;
- Stress: volunteering helps people manage and lower their stress levels;
- Purpose: volunteers feel a deeper connection to communities and to others;
- Engagement: volunteers are more informed healthcare consumers, and more engaged and involved in managing their health.
If you’re looking for places in Cortland to help out, you can start at Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen, on 13 Court Street in Cortland and serve dinner to those in need.
If you are interested in starting your own volunteer project, get in touch with us here at Noyze.org. We can help you make your idea come to life!