Types of Service:
When talking about service, there are three main categories: direct, indirect, and advocacy. The following information gives definitions and examples of each
- Direct becoming actively involved with a community agency or organization usually through the giving of time. Example include:
- Soup kitchens
- Habitat for Humanity
- Public Service taking office
- National Service national organizations, AmeriCorps Vista
- Indirect the providing of resources through a roundabout procedure. Examples include:
- Philanthropy - a desire to help others through the donation of money or physical items
- Cancer walk
- AIDS walk
- Clothing Drives
- Writing letters to Congress about injustice
- Boycotting an event or store
- Organizing activities to increase awareness of a topic or issue
Steps to Community Service
- Determine your interests Ask some of the following questions to help figure out what it is you would like to do to help the community. Please remember that people say they are willing to do anything, but this is usually not true. Most people feel more comfortable working with specific areas or specific population groups. Yes, we want to help stretch your experiences by providing different opportunities from what you are accustom, but hating the group you are working with may only cause frustration for you and the agency or organization.
- What is it that you like to do?
- Are there particular social issues that you would like to address?
- Are there particular kinds of people, age groups or communities you would like to work with?
- How much do you already know about the issue or constituency?
- Is there a need to learn more before acting?
- Would you like to continue a past interest or pursue new experiences?
- Are you interested in direct work with people, or would you rather do
administrative, research, or policy work?
- Determine your time commitment Ask some of the following questions to figure out how much time you have to be involved in the community. When it comes to thinking about time commitment be realistic. For example: If you have classes on Monday from 9 am to 12 pm and from 1 pm to 4 pm, trying to get into a local elementary classroom to tutor students on Monday may not be possible. Also take into consideration other activities that you are involved with and how much time they require.
- How much time do you realistically have?
- Can you afford an hour a week?
- A Saturday afternoon?
- Look for an opportunity The following are a few of the resources for finding a
- Choose an opportunity and contact the agency to set up the program
- Create your own program community service opportunity.
- Even if it is one evening a semester...
Tips for Performing Community Service
The following are a few reminders about working in the community.
- Be aware of your environment - Realize that each organization has a specific way of interacting and accomplishing things so be aware of these particularities and act appropriately.
- Find out about the agency's history and purpose - This will help you to be more effective in your efforts
- Establish a contact person - Know who will be working on the project and have a phone number to reach them
- Always call if you are scheduled to volunteer and cannot make it - Make sure that you contact the agency as soon as you know that you will not be available
- Follow the organization's policies and procedures - This will help to protect both you and the people with whom you are working
- Understand the need for confidentiality - Becoming personally involved with agency clientele is a rewarding experience, but remember you may be dealing with sensitive information that is not to leave the agency
- Dress appropriately and sensibly - Wear clothing that affords you comfort, flexibility and agility
- Ask about training - If the agency asks you to perform a task, will they provide the necessary back up for you to be successful?
- Evaluate the experience - Take the time to reflect upon how this service opportunity is affecting you as a person
- Enjoy yourself - If you are not excited about the program, chances are you will not gain as much from the experience