[STAFF EDITORIAL] Treat volunteering as a chance to grow


Annika Kim

GIVE BACK. An increased demand for volunteers creates opportunities to do community work in diverse avenues. Embrace volunteering and viewing it as a way to help others is key to being genuine about it. While volunteering may be done with different motivations, the end goal of serving the community remains the same.

SPA students are haunted by to-do lists. Every day there is another need to fill and every school year there is another racecourse of requirements to check off. For all SPA students, a certain amount of volunteering is required to graduate.

However, volunteering is supposed to be organic. It is supposed to be completed with a zeal for making the world a better place and helping out other humans, but it has become just another box to check. It is entirely possible to make volunteering enjoyable by reminders of who it is being done for. Additionally, volunteering can be beneficial to the self-esteem of the volunteer, and there is a massive need for service in the Twin Cities at the moment, and organizations need all the help they can get.
Volunteering is not just dirty work or the bottom-of-the-barrel unpaid jobs that higher-ups in an organization don’t want to do. The vast umbrella that encompasses volunteering includes many different types and manners of service. For every interest, there is an organization to be helped. HandsOn Twin Cities is a wonderful resource for connecting interested volunteers and organizations in need of service, through which they can search through dozens of projects to get involved in.

Volunteering is supposed to be organic. It is supposed to be completed with a zeal for making the world a better place and helping out other humans, but it has become just another box to check.”

Volunteering is also a communal effort—most people have volunteered at some point. Asking peers about their experiences volunteering with certain organizations can be immensely helpful in deciding where to do service and making connections. Minnesota has an abundance of organizations in need of aid. For example, Open Arms Minnesota provides meals to critically ill individuals at no charge and volunteers are crucial in preparing their meals and furthering their mission. The Golden Valley Animal Humane Society is open to help from animal lovers on many different fronts. Both People Serving People, one of the largest homeless shelters in the Midwest, and Tubman Shelter, a living accommodation for women and others who have experienced various kinds of relationship violence, are always open to help from the public.

While there are many reasons that people volunteer, the truth of who the service helps should remain at the forefront. While it’s important to recognize that some people volunteer only to fulfill a graduation requirement or to feel good about themselves, each volunteer must try to find an authentic desire to help others within themselves. Additionally, volunteering to feel good isn’t necessarily bad- the benefits to a volunteer’s happiness that can arise from service are not harmful to the people who the service impacts. Alongside volunteering, making donations to organizations can be immensely helpful in keeping their programs running, but only some people have the resources to donate. Everyone has the only resource they need to volunteer: themself.

Keep volunteering in the running for a summer activity; be genuine in the opportunities that are available and the services that are able to be provided to the people in surrounding communities.