Giving back to the community should be an essential aim of individuals and educational institutes alike. One way for students to do this is through community service. But before we jump into how they can do that, it is essential to understand what community service entails and why you should be partaking in it as a student.
What is community service?
In simple terms, community service is any form of work done by an individual or a group of people for the benefit of others. However, you do not necessarily get paid for this work. Instead, you volunteer to give your time and energy to the cause. Most people do social service because they enjoy helping others and improving the community around them. Moreover, many universities and high schools also require their students to complete a fixed number of community service hours before graduating.
At this point, it would also be reasonable to highlight the difference between social work vs sociology and their scope. Both stem from the same pathway. What differs is that sociology’s main focus revolves around research, whereas social work is the practical application of the knowledge that you have gained about society. This practical application comes by assisting families and individuals in need of help.
Why should you be a part of social service?
There are three reasons why you as a student should be part of volunteer projects in your community. Foremost, it is one way to make a positive change around yourself. Many individuals complain about their surroundings and how they should be without realizing that they can actually make a difference if they stopped complaining and started doing stuff.
Secondly, it is one way to strengthen your resume as well as applications for higher education. And last but not least, it dramatically helps in personal growth because you gain exposure to various circumstances and working environments.
With that said, it would be best to consider your area of interest before picking up on a social work task or cause. Do you like to work with children or animals? Is it just a one-off thing, or are you in it to gain practical experience for a career such as social science research assistant or a community health worker? Know your passion and goals as they will help you drive through the process.
Anyway, here are a few good community service ideas for students. Hopefully, these will serve as a good starting point.
Ideas to help the community as an individual
#1. Organize a blood drive within your community or educational institute to donate a few bottles of blood to people in need of it.
#2. Organize a drive to collect underutilized clothing items at the start of a season and distribute them amongst the needy. Always remember to wash and repack the clothes to make them presentable.
#3. Find a local institute that provides a home to the elderly. Spend a day with them doing the things they like. Help bring a smile to their face.
#4. Collect meals and gifts to donate to the local shelter.
#5. Read books or describe surroundings to a visually impaired person.
#6. If you have the chance to give a speech at any event, pick a socially beneficial topic, such as creating awareness about current social problems and probable solutions.
#7. Write articles in your local newspaper or online blogs to create the same awareness among citizens.
#8. Organize a donation drive, and spend the money either directly helping someone in need or creating mall bags containing toiletry essentials and snacks. Hand out these bags to the homeless or the ones in need around you.
#9. Here’s is a fun one; paint a mural in your community. You can involve underprivileged children to help. It will spread joy and brighten up the surroundings. The painting can also highlight a social issue and hence create awareness. However, you might want to check in with the local authorities before taking the paintbrush to the wall.
#10. Volunteer or organize a summer camp for underprivileged children.
Get your educational institute and peers involved
#11. In your educational institute, arrange a bake sale with other students’ help and donate the proceeds to a noble charity institution or cause.
#12. Hold an auction where students can volunteer their time in return for a donation to a charitable organization. The time can be volunteered to activities such as offering to babysit, washing a car, or even help with housework.
#13. Ask your educational institute to facilitate another institution with limited resources. Students can volunteer to teach underprivileged kids.
#14. At the end of the academic year, collect all unused notebooks and course material and donate them to a nearby school. This saves not only the cost but also the environment. Lesser demand for paper means a reduced need to cut down trees.
#15. You can always hold a book drive to collect used books, novels, stories. These can be donated to a local library or a school for children.
#16. Hold a reading hour in a local library with your peers to read and enact stories to entertain and teach children.
#17. Work with local doctors or healthcare facilities to set up a free check-up mobile clinic for a day. This can also include providing free medicines and vaccines.
#18. Host a “Bring Your Pets School Day” and spread awareness about animal rights.
Social work is impactful no matter how small or big it is. The slightest bit of effort from you can change a lot for people around you. Don’t question your ability to make a change while being a student, as so many around us do. Today, you can bring about the slightest change right now as a student, which will pave the way for far more. So take up one of these ideas and pledge to make a difference.