Emily Gauthier

Staff Writer 


Why is it that the end of the year warrants a sudden interest in volunteering and helping others?

Maybe it’s because we are always told to be grateful for what we have around Thanksgiving and that Christmas is a time for giving. Maybe we feel guilty for getting all kinds of presents and need to make up for it by helping others.

Sure, the need is greater during the holidays: it is an especially stressful time for those who may be going through a hard time.

But what if we put as much effort into volunteering the rest of the year as we do around the holidays?

I know what you’re thinking. You don’t have time to volunteer on top of studying, working and being with friends.

Yes, these things are important, but chances are you juggled all of that in high school, too, to bulk up your college applications.

Now it’s time to worry about your real-life resume. Volunteering can help with your future, and isn’t that why we’re really in college?

Dedicating yourself to a cause you believe in can point you to a possible career path. Perhaps you’ll realize what you really want to do in life.

A long term commitment to a certain organization is a great resume builder: future employers like to see that you’re around for the long haul.

It could also be a chance to network with people who have similar life and career goals. These people can then help you get a job la

ter on after college, too.

So what can you actually do? You could find something that coincides with your major to make sure you, too, can benefit from your service.

Lakeland has many openings for volunteers. A simple internet search offers opportunities working with seniors, children, hospitals, animals and the environment within a 20 mile radius.

Not your thing? Become an advocate for a bigger organization and tell everyone why you’re so passionate about it. Start a fundraiser.

Ask for others to donate to your favorite cause as a birthday gift. Spend some time volunteering at home during the summer.

While we may sometimes focus on building our own resumes, that year-round volunteering really does benefit others.

That same soup kitchen you might help serve at during Thanksgiving is still open the rest of the year and your favorite organization will gladly accept donations in April as well as December.

Environmental or animal-based causes are an especially good route for those looking to volunteer year-round because they don’t have a greater need at different times of year.

Keep in mind that any group you decide to provide service for will undoubtedly appreciate your help at any time of year, whether it is a holiday or not.

The best thing about volunteering is that you really get to help people who truly need it.

The people you are helping will greatly benefit from your service and they will appreciate it that much more when it is not “volunteer season”.

Perhaps if people start helping year-round the overall need will start to decrease.

The holidays are a great time to volunteer. So is every other day of the year.

During the holidays this year, make it your goal to find a cause you really believe in and use it as a kick off for your year-round volunteering.

Not only does it truly benefit others, it can help you build a resume and find your future career path.

All you have to do is do a little looking, find your passion and run with it.