Value of Volunteering

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Hi! My name is Julia Schemmer - I am sixteen participate in several clubs as well as volunteer actively four days a week. I consider myself a "Surplus Striver" because everyday I am learning more and more about what it takes to have excellence in every area of my life. Follow my blog for insights into my daily life, my journey into surplus, and my preparation to become an international human rights lawyer in India and the Middle East.

Value of Volunteering

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

–Thomas Edison

When I was a freshman in high school, the only reason I did community service is because I wanted it to look welcoming on college applications. While it took two years for my notions about community service to mature, I finally was able to grasp the value of helping one another. And believe me; it goes so much farther than a college application essay!

Community service allows you to learn new things about yourself. While it’s typical to begin a community service event with the intentions of helping the community, what I have found is that it has helped me more than I originally expected! For one, I never envisioned myself as a leader. Being very quiet and introverted, I always viewed myself as a follower, a team player if you will. However, working volunteering events allowed me to learn that I really love people! I love communicating with others and spending face-to-face time with people. Now, I’m doing things I could have never imagined, and leading groups four days a week. As a result, I learned more about things I need to work on as well, which is the perfect crucible moment to truly refine my skills. Sometimes I have a really difficult time asking people for help, and I would have never realized this if I never stepped outside of my comfort zone to be a leader in my community. By learning more about the good and the bad things about myself, I am able to choose a career based off these experiences and truly become the best person I could possibly be.

Community service allows you to develop relationships. Have you heard the quote “Leadership is influence, and influence is relationships?” Well that quote speaks a lot of truth. The best way to influence people is by spending quality time with them. The world already has fast-paced technology and communication, but what many are thirsty for is love and intentional relationships. I have developed some of my strongest friendships by serving on a team with them. You learn about their work ethic, their likes and dislikes, and their heart in serving. These friendships are valuable – I can’t tell you how many times I have worked one event with one person only to see them at five other events the next month.

Community service inspires people. That’s what we all want to do, right? Growing up, I knew I wanted to change the world in some great and mighty way, but I never knew how much influence I would have on people by doing simple things like a Christmas card drive or a benefit dinner. In order to change the world, I had to learn that I had to first change myself; and community service changed my outlook on the world forever. By reaching out your hand, you might one day turn your back to see hundreds of others do the same. Live for something. Be passionate. Be humble.

Best of wishes on your community service journey!

~Julia