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What Does It Mean To Be A Citizen In A Democracy?
PART THREE: Volunteering

Volunteering: Building A Better Community
Volunteers are the glue that keeps a community together. Volunteers fill in the gaps. If these gaps were not filled, our communities would suffer. Volunteers do many things in many different ways, such as helping to clean up their community, tutoring, or helping a child. Without volunteers, many jobs would not get done. Imagine what your community would be like without the help of volunteers. When you think about it, it is easy to see how important the role of volunteers is to a community.

When you volunteer, you will be taking an active part in making your community a better place. You give something back to your community. And when you give something back, you will also get something in return. You get the rewards that come from making a positive difference in the lives of others in your community.

Finding a Volunteer Position That is Right for You
Many people do not know what volunteer work they would like to do. Ask yourself the questions below to find out what you are interested in and how you would like to share your time. These questions are based on those from a brochure called Questions to Ask, put out by the Voluntary Action Center with The United Way of Massachusetts Bay Area.


  • How much free time do I have to do volunteer work?
  • How many hours a week would I like to volunteer?
  • How long am I expected to volunteer? How long am I able to volunteer?
  • Skills/Interests/Experience

  • Why do I want to be a volunteer? Will the job I choose meet those reasons?
  • Have I done volunteer work before? What did I like / dislike about it? Do I want to do something similar again? Do I want to do something different?
  • Do I have any interests or hobbies that I would like to use in my volunteer job?
  • Setting

  • How far am I willing to travel to do volunteer work?
  • Do I want to work outside?
  • In what kind of place do I want to work? Hospital? School? Nursing Home? Office? Gift Shop? Shelter or Soup Kitchen? Recreational Facility? Museum? Camp? Park? Zoo? Playground? Theater? Laboratory?
  • People

  • Do I want to work by myself or with people?
  • With what age group do I want to work? Infants? Children? Teenagers? Adults? Elderly?
  • Do I want to work with people with special needs such as people who have a physical handicap or who are sick?
  • Do I want to work one-on-one with a person or with a group of people?

    Personal Considerations

  • How would I get to the volunteer job? Would I drive or take a bus or taxi?
  • Do I have any health or other problems that I should think about when choosing a volunteer job? Is there anything that may make a certain place a poor volunteer site for me?
  • Am I on medicine that needs to be taken at a certain time? Could I do the volunteer job and still take my medication?
  • Do I know someone who would be willing to speak about my strengths to the director of the volunteer program? Have I asked them in advance so they will know that they will be contacted?
  • If I am under age 21, do I understand that there may be certain volunteer jobs that I can't do because I am too young?
  • Next: Listing of Volunteer Referral Services

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