Volunteering, giving your time and energy freely, is a great way to support and learn more about a cause or issue you care about.
Volunteering can be just showing up or it can be more transformative–a first step in long term involvement and an opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to effect change in your community. Whether you plant trees, help staff a soup kitchen, or raise awareness about sexual violence, research the organization you’re volunteering with, learn more about the root causes of the issue you care about, reflect on what you’re doing and why, and most important, get to know those who’s lives you hope to improve.
Reflection is a crucial part of community service. It allows volunteers to stop for a moment, process what they’re doing and think critically about what it means. Reflection can happen through listening, discussion, journaling, drawing, acting, creating a photo-journal, and any other way you can imagine.
What? So What? Now What?
The reflection process begins with defining and sharing the “What” of the experience, and follows a continuous cycle towards “So What?” and “Now What?”
–What? Report the events of an experience
–So What? Think critically about what this experience means.
–Now What? Consider the future impact of the experience on you and the community.