Helping Others While Helping Yourself

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With Earth Day approaching, the UW-Whitwater campus wants to make an impact. On April 22nd the Whitewater community will come together to be a part of Make A Difference Day. More than 300 students from UW-Whitewater will partner with volunteers from the Rock County area to tackle several major projects in both Janesville and Whitewater.

While most know of the positive impact volunteering can leave on a community, most volunteers rarely speak of the benefits of volunteering to themselves. Doing good and enjoying yourself, while meeting your own personal and professional goals can happen at the same time. With that in mind here are both personal and professional benefits one can gain from volunteering:

Learn new and transferable skills
While gaining new skills through volunteering, you will also sharpen existing skills, or use existing skills in new ways.  Employers are often seeking well-rounded individuals who have good teamwork and goal setting skills. Through volunteer work you become a comprehensive individual by completing tasks by a certain due date with team members.

Career exploration
Volunteering offers incredible networking opportunities. You not only develop life long personal and professional relationships, but also you can hear about job openings, gather insider employment information and develop great references. Volunteering can expose you to the work of an organization in a deeper way than becoming a member, following it on social media, or even participating in an informational interview. Regardless of your age or career level, volunteering will introduce you to new professional paths.  Volunteering offers the opportunity to cross paths with people across your community.

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Differentiate yourself while gaining visibility
Real world experiences are essential when creating your story. Having additional experiences, like volunteering, gives you the upper hand when applying for jobs. Listing volunteer experience on your resume allows you to showcase versatility, as well as relatable skills you. As volunteer opportunities provide a great environment to network, they also provide an environment to showcase your work ethic (and transferrable skills) firsthand to those you would network with.

Develop leadership skills
As a volunteer you contribute unique skills, experiences, and perspectives. By watching those around you, you can begin to identify the qualities of leadership that you admire and you can strive to develop those qualities in yourself. You will have opportunities to lead by persuasion, innovation and with your ideas. Working in volunteer settings will help you learn strategic thinking, management and conflict resolution skills, which all portray the skills needed to be an effective leader. You will learn about your community, trends and issues,and  people and resources, all of which further help you develop your leadership potential.

Satisfaction
You make a difference! You may seem like a small number at the time, but these numbers add up. Last year on Whitewater’s Make A Difference Day, 352 volunteers gathered together combining over 1,408 service hours. Volunteering is one of the best ways an individual knows how to make a difference in the community. Whatever your passion, however you get involved, volunteering offers a way to have a real and lasting influence on the world. What is more satisfying than that?

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Volunteering can be a great way to develop skills, learn more about career options, make friends, gain professional contacts, spend time with others, or even find a new hobby.

Make sure to join the Whitewater community and over 300 volunteers on April 22nd for Make A Difference Day.  Sign up early so you can pick your project and hold your spot!