The world of college scholarships can be highly competitive. If you not only want to help set yourself apart in merit-based scholarships, but potentially open up new opportunities for those who work to improve the world around them, maybe it’s time to start working on community service.
Whether you want to work for a local charitable organization or create your own community project, spending time as a volunteer can help give you the edge you need to stand out amongst the sea of applications. If you are looking for ways to help out in your area, consider the following options to make a difference in your community.
Contact Local Organizations
Whether it is an animal shelter, food bank, or other community organization, many would love to have volunteers to help complete various tasks and keep costs down. If you know there are local organizations whose missions you can get behind, don’t be afraid to contact them directly to see how you can help.
If you aren’t sure where to begin, consider trying a volunteer matchmaking site. These services take information regarding your areas of interest and look to fit those to local organizations who could use your assistance. This may introduce you to groups of which you were previously unaware that suit your interests and skills in a meaningful way.
If you have the time and connections available, you may be able to start an independent project to help your community. Some popular independent options can include food and clothing drives, fundraising events, and community gardens.
Food and clothing drives in support of a particular group or charity can be very helpful, especially if you can connect with local businesses for support. Being able to place donation stations near the entrances of large retailers can help promote awareness while making it easy for interested parties to donate.
Fundraising events can be as large or small as you would like them to be. Setting up a small bake sale may be relatively easy, especially if a local business will agree to allow you to setup near their entrance. Car washes can also bring in solid support without a large amount of setup being required.
Starting a community vegetable garden can not only beautify your neighborhood, it can also provide an excellent source of fresh fruits and vegetables for those in your community. Many community gardens are run almost entirely by volunteers, as members of the community can trade work for access to the vegetables being grown.
Besides accessing a plot of land, a community garden does not require too many supplies. If you want to help keep costs low while ensuring the soil contains the organic materials necessary to support strong, healthy plants, consider adding a durable compost tumbler by Mantis to make your own compost. Not only can it give your community a way to reduce the amount of waste going to a landfill, it also helps control what it going in to your local soil.
Otherwise, materials like starter plants, garden tools, and other supplies can be acquired through donations to help get things started.
Keep Your Eyes Open
One of the easiest ways to see what you community needs is to simply open your eyes and look around. If an elderly neighbor is having trouble maintaining their lawn, see if you can coordinate a group to help. If a park needs a new coat of paint, see if you can get permission to handle the task.
Opportunities are endless, and showing the initiative can help make your scholarship applications even harder to pass by.