Student Volunteering Week runs from 10th – 16th February, with 2020 bringing its 19th term! Created by the Student Volunteering Network, its aim is to encourage young people all over the UK to develop their skills whilst getting involved with the local community. We explain more about what Student Volunteering Week is and why it’s important for young people to take part.
Why Student Volunteering Week exists
Young people are often found on the front-line, promoting social issues and protesting for a fairer society for everybody. The Student Volunteering Network believes that encouraging young people to volunteer heightens their chance of getting employed and improves their well-being, whilst contributing to the wider community and helping others.
Colleges, Universities and Student Unions’ from all over the UK take part every year. Partnering with societies and communities from various industries, the aim is to encourage students to get involved. Here at The Army Cadets, we recognise the importance of being involved in community efforts. From organising initiatives that promote a Greener living to a more hands-on approach in a care home, young people can reap the benefits from volunteering.
Benefits of volunteering for students
Many people don’t realise the value of volunteering until they do it. By volunteering, not only will you be contributing to society and improving the lives of others, you will be gaining valuable skills that can be taken with you throughout your life - especially your career.
- Giving back – Helping those less fortunate than you is extremely valuable to both the people you are helping and yourself. Thousands of people benefit from volunteers giving their own time every day, and student volunteers can make a tremendous difference to the community. You will likely learn a lot whilst helping those who need it and it’s fulfilling.
- Gaining a sense of community – It’s important for students to break out of the ‘university bubble’ and integrate with the wider community, often in an area that they didn’t grow up in. Over 70% of students say that their understanding of people has increased due to volunteering in the local community.
- Developing skills – Volunteering can sometimes be a deal-breaker when it comes to securing a job and it can also help young people decide what they want to do. Volunteering can help develop a large range of skills - from academic to physical, mental, emotional and social.
- Social opportunities – Volunteering can open doors to opportunities, and that’s usually through who you meet. You may form connections with people who can help you in your career, or you may just make some great friends along the way. Nevertheless, volunteering is a route to meeting others and expanding your social circle.
- Personal satisfaction – As well as building valuable skills and improving CVs, there’s nothing better than feeling good about the work you’ve been doing. Volunteering is said to increase happiness, reduce stress and keep our brains mentally stimulated. The more we give, the happier we become.
How to encourage students to volunteer
Student Volunteering Week is a great way to kickstart the conversation with your children, students or peers. Register your interest and learn more about how you can take part. The following suggestions are ways you can approach the idea of volunteering:
- Highlight the benefits above and focus on the positives that come as a result of giving a few hours of time to volunteering.
- Define the purposes of volunteering - Yes, gaining extra skills is great but it’s important to emphasise the fantastic impact it will have on other people. Try and make them see that they’ll be helping to change the world!
- Provide opportunity – It could be worth doing your research and finding initiatives that welcome students to volunteer. This makes the process easier for them and means they’re more likely to get involved..
- Pull on their heart strings with real-life stories and get guest speakers in – Hearing first-hand from someone who has had a volunteer help change their life is a great incentive and can hugely encourage young people to want to get involved.
Volunteering at the ACF
We invite everybody over the age of 18 to get involved with the Army Cadet Force. You can volunteer as an Officer and lead the cadets, or you can take more of a background job in administration or counselling. We have volunteers from all walks of life with different skillsets and experience, but all yearning to gain new skills and meet new people. See more benefits of volunteering at the ACF, and find your nearest detachment if you want to get involved.