Art by Peau Porotesano
More than 1,000 students gave their time to assist the community during Step Forward Day, but students should continue to serve others beyond just one day.
The thought of consistently volunteering can be daunting, since Pepperdine students often lead busy lives, but helping others positively benefits both the volunteer and the recipient.
Many organizations depend on the work of volunteers to carry out their charitable missions. A simple act of volunteering for a few hours has a profound effect. Charities can reduce their operating costs when using volunteers, allowing them to put more money toward carrying out their humanitarian work.
As students who are fortunate enough to have basic necessities, we should give to those who are not as privileged. It is a moral obligation to help those in need.
Volunteering is a way to fulfill one’s sense of purpose. Since people are not paid to volunteer, they should choose to dedicate time to issues they care about. Someone who cares about the environment, for example, can pick up trash at the beach where they are addressing a problem that is meaningful to them.
Volunteers feel a sense of appreciation when they enjoy the time they spend helping others. It can be a great way to take a break from school and lessen the stress from school work.
Students who volunteer are able to make new connections with people, which can be beneficial after graduation. Researchers have found that unemployed individuals who volunteer have a 27 percent greater chance of finding employment at the end of a year than non-volunteers, according to Christopher Spera, Robin Ghertner, Anthony Nerino and Adrienne DiTommaso’s study “Volunteering as a pathway to employment,” published November 2013.
Volunteering can help someone who is planning to apply to graduate school, medical school or law school. Admissions officers look for well-rounded students, in addition to good grades, and volunteer work on an application can demonstrate that.
Assisting community organizations allows students to develop skills that can be used in other areas. These include teamwork, interpersonal communication, leadership and problem solving. It can be a great way to gain experience to add to a resume.
Volunteer opportunities are easy to get involved with on campus. The Pepperdine Volunteer Center partners with various organizations in Malibu and across the Los Angeles County and Ventura County to offer weekly service programs.
Those interested in environmental justice can clean up coastal waters with Heal the Bay, plant and care for trees with TreePeople and restore native grasses to the mountains behind Pepperdine’s campus with the Mountains Restoration Trust.
Volunteer opportunities that are centered around health and wellness include providing educational assistance to kids at the Boys & Girls Club of Malibu and interacting with young adults who have mental and physical disabilities through the Hand in Hand program at the Malibu Jewish Center and Synagogue.
Education and literacy volunteer programs help with providing tutoring services to the juvenile probation camps in the Malibu Hills and to program partners such as the Malibu Community Labor Exchange, America Reads and School on Wheels.
Student volunteers help collect produce from local farmer’s markets through Food Forward an organization devoted to ending hunger.
To take part in these service opportunities, stop by the Pepperdine Volunteer Center to sign up. The Pepperdine Volunteer Center offers transportation to these weekly services.
Every year, teams of Pepperdine students have used their spring break to volunteer across the United States and internationally through Project Serve. Project Serve is a unique opportunity for volunteers to work with organizations who are experts in their respective fields, allowing students to gain hands-on experience on how to relieve social issues within local communities.
The Pepperdine Volunteer Center is not the only source for volunteer opportunities on campus. Students who are interested in environmental projects can get involved with Green Team to work on creating a more sustainable campus. The Wells Project serves to raise awareness about the vulnerable groups of people in the world who do not have clean water.
The numerous opportunities to volunteer through Pepperdine’s Volunteer Center and other campus organizations can help students make serving others a consistent part of their lives. Students will not only make a difference to those in need, but they will make a difference in their own lives as well.
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