by Brittaney Crock
As a college student, I know firsthand how seemingly impossible it is to find free time to volunteer. Since I am applying to medical schools this fall, I decided I should rack up some volunteer hours to spruce up my application. I researched organizations and chose The Salvation Army in Central Ohio. I was most impressed with the exhaustive list of community services they offered to those in need and that last year alone, the organization provided services to over 107,000 individuals.
On my first day, I was introduced to the Development Department staff who were so inviting and appreciative of my help. They were full of compassion and enthusiasm for their cause. It was truly inspirational. My first task was to call donors and thank them for their support and generosity. The second day, I was asked if I’d like to help with a campaign to raise community awareness about human trafficking. I was eager to help out, and also to learn more. I could not believe that there was human trafficking occurring right here in my home state.
While I called other states that had successful campaigns and obtained statistics and heard victims’ stories, something changed in me. I was no longer a volunteer for my resume; I was there because I wanted to help! The realities surrounding most of these stories are simply unfair. In addition to this campaign, I’ve worked on many different but equally fantastic projects. There are so many services here that are dedicated to helping individuals with various circumstances. The After School Learning Centers help students who struggle academically and also ensure the students are fed so they can learn. 88% of participating students increase their academic performance.
I realized I had been so indulgent in my own life and goals, that I barely realized the realities of those around me. For me, it’s really a simple matter of giving people the kind of opportunities that affords them the basic rights to a humane and dignified life – opportunities I, myself, have had.
The Salvation Army offers great flexibility to their volunteers and values creativity, which gives us the freedom to help out in various ways! I have decided to get involved with some of the educational programs in hopes to help bridge the gap between the underserved communities and their better-served counterparts. Volunteering at The Salvation Army is rewarding because there are so many different ways in which you can dedicate your talents and provide services to people who are eager and grateful to learn.
The need for volunteers is great, click here for more information.