We asked the Valparaiso University community and we listened to your heartfelt questions. There are many ways of volunteering and to make it less overwhelming we made an easy list of questions, fears and potential opportunities coming up at Valparaiso University. If you worry about volunteering issues, you are not alone. Thanks for your honesty!
Our top ten student questions and some real opportunities to explore volunteering:
1. What if I don’t have a lot of time?
- Sometimes volunteering is too big to handle now. We don’t judge here. How about baking some cookies for a local bakesale? Someone has to smell those lovely cookies baking….if you test eat a few….that’s up to you.
Check out some local orgs, maybe they need a batch of cookies at their next event:
2. What would I learn, or get out of it?
Volunteer tourism or Voluntourism
- If you are a student, did you know traveling abroad is part of your tuition? Too good to be true, but you can use your scholarship or aid to travel over spring break and do some good while your at it. Check out the options, maybe this spring break you can make those two weeks really count.
Check out traveling abroad with your cohort and earn college credit: https://www.valpo.edu/college-of-nursing-and-health-professions/2018/05/31/spring-break-trips-recap/
3. What if I want to just stay on campus?
- Few people realize how much volunteer work goes into student orgs. Valparaiso University students have 200+ non-profit organizations to choose from. There are even more non-volunteer organization that maybe just fun. Stop by a meeting or inquire about what they need. Maybe you don’t need to be president. Maybe they need someone to set up streamers for the next event. Did you know the organization Valpo Yoga teaches free yoga classes?
Check out the 200+ orgs: https://valparaisovolunteers.org/valparaiso-university-organizations-2/
4. What can I do?
- Anyone can take a class and enjoy a local non-profit. Have you always wanted to have a green thumb or pose with a live hawk? How about learning about local endangered species while earning a certificate in a few months? Look at the Master Naturalist Certification at Taltree. You could be a certified expert in something by next semester.
Master Naturalist Class:http://www.taltree.org/programs/indiana-master-naturalist/
5. What if I’m too shy?
- Maybe face to face isn’t your thing. It’s not required for volunteers to be people persons. Have you considered volunteering at a hotline? Valpo is home to many nonprofits like the Caring Place, breaking the cycle of violence with a 24 hotline. They depend on volunteers to change lives and save lives.
Caring Place: http://thecaringplacenwi.org/
6. Can it help me get a job?
Work toward your career by practicing now
- It’s one of the most common myths. You can gain valuable experience and have fun volunteering. If you are a law student-what about volunteering your time at a law practice to defend non-profits? If you are a premed student-how about the local hospital? Even those Candy-Stripers learn valuable tips about hospital hygiene and regulations. Employers get the chance to know you and what better resume reference then your potential boss?
Check out the next Career Fair. You can volunteer there before you apply for a future career:
7. What can I really change?
- Ever wondered who actually does cleans up after hurricanes or packed that lunch for the homeless? Do you need practice before you graduate? Maybe you could practice organization and leadership by signing people in at the Red Cross Blood Drive.
Relief work with Red Cross: https://www.redcross.org/local/indiana/about-us/locations/northwest-indiana.html
8. How can I find time to relax if I’m volunteering?
Conservation or environmental
- Imagine walking down a beautiful beach, the lakeshore sands sparkle in the sunset, your best friend is making you laugh after a bad day, then you stumble across a soda can. Instead of picking up seashells, your not really supposed to take those anyway, what about picking up a few plastic bottles? Valparaiso University will drive students there during welcome week to do just this.
9. Isn’t it ambitious to think I could change the world?
- You can help change the world. Sometimes it is as easy as listening. Check out MLK day at Valpo. There will be many opportunities to speak up and to hear others opinions. You can even submit an art project. How does MLK day speak to you?
10. Will I actually enjoy it?
- Okay so maybe all the above is not your cup of tea. How about buying your friend a cup of coffee while you study together? Or could you open a door for another student whose hands are full? Being a good neighbor is often overlooked. The city of Valparaiso will even pay for your next coffee if you’d like to meet your local neighborhood police officer or detective. You don’t need a penny or more then ten minutes to start.
Coffee with a Cop: https://www.ci.valparaiso.in.us/1299/Coffee-With-A-Cop
As your neighbor, Valparaiso Volunteers thanks you in advance for the next good deed you do!
~Want an super easy good deed? Forward this post to a friend! Thanks from the VV Team!