December 2015

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Home for the Holidays? Why not Volunteer?

Home for the holidays and wondering what to do with all that free time?  Beyond being a great way to help out the community, did you know volunteering can give you meaningful experience that may come in handy down the road?

From mentors and tutors at Norwalk Grassroots Tennis to friendly visitors and leaf-rakers at At Home in Darien to cleaning up the trails at Earthplace in Westport, there are countless ways you can get involved. We’ve put together a quick checklist of things to consider before you try to get school credit for service over your winter break.

1. Clarify your school’s policy with accepting credit

It’s extremely likely that your school will accept volunteering for credit, but always make sure! Different schools have different policies, and while volunteering on its own is a wonderful endeavor, you should definitely get credit; you’ll certainly learn a lot!

2. Ask your agency during the interview process - as early as possible.

The sooner your agency knows, the better! Depending on where you volunteer, they may need to make some sort of special arrangement to classify you as a student volunteer. Often, it may just be a simple heads up and a notice that they’ll need to write a letter of confirmation that you’ve satisfied your volunteer hours. It couldn’t be easier.

3. Speak to your student advisor

Beat the Holiday Blues in One Step

As the classic seasonal song says, it’s the most wonderful time of the year! Parties, presents, ugly sweaters – and oftentimes some serious stress. At Fairfield County-based VolunteerSquare we know volunteering is great for your community but it's also great for your mental health. In fact, even in this super-scheduled season volunteering here in Connecticut can bring you happiness long after you finish with your shift. 

 

1. Volunteering Can Boost Your Happiness

 

We all want to be happy, right? And why not? Happiness can help eliminate fear and anxiety, help you maintain a more positive outlook, and it can even keep sickness at bay. It’s no coincidence that the Corporation for National and Community Service found in a study that volunteering can make people happier overall. Specifically, this and other studies show that taking the focus off of your own troubles and stress and onto helping others is key to lifting your spirits.

 

2. Volunteering Leads To Greater Sense of Satisfaction

 

Holiday Volunteering: Making it Work

With the holiday season in full swing, you may think you can’t squeeze another thing into your daily calendar. But think again! There are lots of ways you can give back here in Connecticut and we’ve broken them down into a few different categories to help you get your volunteer vibes going. 

Fundraising Opportunities Galore

This time of year coincides with the time that many nonprofit agencies begin fundraising for the new fiscal year. Kids Helping Kids in Stamford, CT, for example, recently posted an opportunity for a senior grant writer. Help with fundraising support runs the full spectrum from veteran fundraisers to complete newbies who simply want to help however they can, so this is an area where there will always be demand. If you have any interest in fundraising, be sure to keep an eye out! Keep an eye out for holiday donation drives at agencies across the region, too, like Operation Hope in Fairfield and Neighbor-to-Neighbor in Greenwich.

“Full Time” Volunteering

If you’re willing to devote one or two days of your time during this busy season to an opportunity this type of volunteering appears frequently - as a bonus, this is another good way of preparing you for the workforce. The Pequot Library is looking to capitalize on this, as they’ve posted an opportunity for a marketer and web designer that suggests two full days to meet their expectation of 15 hours per week.

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