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April is known for warmer weather, showers that bring springtime flowers, and National Volunteer Month. And although this month is a great time to observe volunteers everywhere, it’s important to remember that volunteering is important work that benefits others and yourself as well. Take a look at how volunteering improves your community and your success.

Improve Your Community and Your Mood
Volunteering within your community improves the livelihood of everyone who lives there. Improved livelihoods create healthy communities that prosper. Prosperous communities create more opportunities for those who are in need. And, in addition to creating a  healthy community, studies have shown that altruistic behavior increases internal feelings of well-being and happiness.

Boost Your Resume and Your Skills
Volunteering not only improves your community and your mood, but it can also improve your skills and boost your resumé. If you are volunteering at an organization that is in the same industry as your chosen career, your time can count as work experience. For example, if you work in the educational field and volunteer each week by tutoring or mentoring children, you can list your time on  your resumé. Potential hiring managers will not only take note of the gained experience, but they’ll see that you also value helping others.

When you participate in volunteer work, it can help you  stand out from other applicants when applying to schools. It shows that you care about hard work and others.

Build a Strong, Supportive Network
You’d be surprised by the number of people you can meet while volunteering. These people can turn into great networking opportunities or long-lasting friendships. Networking and gaining reliable references can be key to finding and landing a job.

There are several different ways you can help improve your community. Here are just a few ideas of the many ways you can volunteer:

  • Use your writing skills to write for a nonprofit organization
  • Use your construction skills to help build homes
  • Use your people-skills to host a fundraiser
  • Use your creative skills by knitting or sewing clothing and blankets for children
  • Use your social media skills and volunteer virtually by promoting your favorite causes 
  • Donate the gently used items in your closet or garage (books, toys, movies, clothing, technology, vehicles, shoes, eyeglasses, etc.)
  • Donate your hair to Locks of Love or Wigs for Kids
  • Donate non-perishable food items
  • Donate blood or plasma or host a blood drive 
  • Volunteer your time and serve food at your local shelter
  • Volunteer your time and play with animals at your local animal shelter
  • Volunteer your time and adopt a highway or clean up a park
  • Volunteer your time and read to kids at the children’s hospital or play cards with the elderly