Volunteering for a Purposeful Winter: How Students Can Give Back During the Holidays
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With the end of term coming up soon, you might be looking at things to do during your winter break. Whether you are staying at your student accommodation for the holidays or going back home to visit your family, there are some rewarding volunteering opportunities for students that will give your time off some greater meaning.
Student volunteering has great potential to elevate your student life. There is a wide variety of choices available to you, meeting many different interests and helping you gain experience in different aspects of life and work that could help you in the future.
The benefits of students volunteering this winter
Volunteering is a way to give something back to the community. There are different benefits to volunteering as a student this winter and some of them will be discussed here.
Adds to your Resume
Through volunteering you can demonstrate that you are proactive and that you can show commitment. Gaining experience in volunteering is a great thing to add to your CV, showcasing how hard-working you are to potential future employers. This will allow you to gain a unique perspective and work ethic relating to volunteering opportunities outside of your expertise up to this point.
Focus on community
Volunteering gives back to the community. It is a selfless act on your part. By volunteering with a charity of any kind, whether you work towards feeding the homeless, handling the telephone lines for a mental health charity, or wrapping Christmas presents for disadvantaged children, you’ll feel closer to the community. This will bring you closer to different cultures that you might otherwise never experience.
If you choose to volunteer at a local business during your winter break this could become helpful in the future in terms of networking and the connections that you make. This is not only beneficial for you professionally, but also from a social and personal viewpoint. Volunteering is a good way to meet new people and to make friends.
Develop your skills
Students volunteering over the Christmas break will develop new skills and gain crucial hands-on experience that helps them to grow as humans. Soft skills are important to every person regardless of what they choose to do with their lives post-university. As a student volunteering, you’ll be in unfamiliar positions that help you to gain and develop skills such as communication, leadership, and problem-solving among others.
Student volunteering opportunities
There is a rich and varied selection of student volunteering options open to you. Whether you are looking to volunteer within the community, with a charity, or you want to do something that is more specific to your course and career, there is plenty to explore and sign up for over the Christmas break. Here are a few examples.
Working for a charity
There are countless charities throughout the UK that are all looking for volunteers to help them with various tasks. You could be fundraising on the streets with the British Red Cross or helping with administration tasks for Oxfam UK. There are fulfilling and often demanding student volunteering roles at this time of the year where charitable organisations require a greater number of staff for a short period of time.
Working with the elderly
Care homes for the elderly always require extra help, especially over the holidays when there is a higher frequency of visitors who come to see the family members. There are several roles that you can take up to help the residents. You can help read to the residents, assist with cooking at mealtimes or even help cleaning. Whatever tasks you are given, this type of volunteering is all about helping people and making sure that the full-time staff are given the support they need to create the perfect living environment for residents who have a range of needs.
Volunteer at your local library
Libraries have always been important community centres, providing young and old, and people from all backgrounds, the chance to learn new things and access a community space that serves as a hub of knowledge and fun. With budget cuts for libraries over the last few years, they are reaching out for support. By volunteering as a student in a library, you can help with computer skills and admin tasks, tidy and sort out stock and displays and even help with stock management and cleaning.
Helping the homeless
The winter months are cold and dark, the worst time of year for those people who are unfortunately homeless and living on the streets. There are many great charitable organisations that do their bit to support the homeless in the UK, and they are always looking for volunteers to help support the cause. In some instances, this could include helping to serve warm, homecooked meals to homeless people. Other volunteering tasks to help the homeless include sorting and giving out food and drinks, helping to sort clothing donations, and helping with administrative tasks for homeless shelters.
Offer to help friends and family at home
If you’ve gone back home for the Christmas break, there are ways that you can help friends and family that aren’t the conventional volunteering route but will still make a big difference. Offer to look after someone’s pet, take their dog for a walk in the day while they are at work, or offer to babysit so that a family member or friend can go out for the evening and relax. Think of it as selfless ways to be helpful to those you love at home.
You shouldn’t only consider volunteering during your Christmas break, with plenty of organisations looking for help all year round. You can also opt to volunteer at your Students’ Union and help them maintain the support network that helps all students, year-round, within your campus.
In conclusion, volunteering during Christmas not only spreads warmth and joy to those in need but also enriches the lives of student volunteers. It’s a powerful way to give back, build meaningful connections, and embrace the true spirit of the season. So, this holiday, consider sharing your time and kindness, because the gift of giving truly makes the season brighter for everyone involved.