How to get started with service
So you want to do service, but you have no idea where to start. You may have lots of questions, like...What is service at like? Who should I talk to? How can I get started? The staff in our Campus Ministry office are available to answer any questions you might have about service. It's as easy as dropping by our office!
Ask yourself some questions!
There are many different types of service opportunities out there, including a one-time service event, ongoing service, or mission and immersion trips. When deciding what type of service you want to get involved in, you may ask yourself the following questions:
- What am I looking for in a community service experience?
- What are the gifts and talents that I have and how might they be useful in different settings?
- What are the needs in my own Community? Church? School?
- Do I want to commit to service once a week or once a month or participate in more one-time events?
- What population(s) do I wish to serve (e.g. children, senior citizens, people with physical or intellectual disabilities, people who are experiencing homelessness)?
- In what kind of setting do I wish to serve (e.g. shelter, classroom, community center, office, outdoors)?
- How will service fit into my schedule? How will I get to service and back home?
- Do I have friends who also need to fulfill some hours?
- How would particular service experiences support my goals and prepare me for college?
Take the initiative!
Once you’ve decided what kind of service you’d like to get involved with, it’s time to call or e-mail the contact person at a given agency. Make sure to be persistent as many non-profits or agencies are often very stretched by the immediate needs of the populations they may serve. They are eager and happy to have your help! You may need to follow-up. It is also important that you know what kind of commitment you can offer before you make contact and try to work with what the agency needs of you, not what you need of the agency. It is also always helpful to respond to announcements made in school about upcoming service opportunities!
Tips for a good experience!
- Make sure you know the name, phone number and e-mail address of your point of contact.
- Make sure to bring your ASHS service hour record form with you so that you can record your hours and obtain a signature that day.
- Become aware of what you will be expected to do; ask if you need to bring anything
- Try not to commit yourself to more hours than you can complete
- While we encourage you to always keep your commitment as agencies count on you, always call first, email second, if you are scheduled to volunteer and cannot make it
- Find out if there is a dress code
- Encourage friends to come along who need their service hours!