What are you doing after graduation?
Before you jump head first into the corporate world or get stuck behind a desk,
think about a year of volunteer service
Volunteering makes good sense. Read on to find out why even your parents might think it's a good idea:
Gain real work experience
It's tough getting a first job. Employers all want to hire people with experience. A year of service can pack your resume with the real job experience you need. Many volunteer agencies actually create a job tailored to what you want because they really need your skills.
Develop new areas of expertise
If you are one of the many people that discovered half-way through college that your major isn't really you, but you stuck with it anyway, a year of service is ideal for you. You will get valuable work experience that can open doors to the area you are really interested in. Even if you love your major, any secondary expertise makes you more attractive to future employers and helps you grow as a person.
You can make a difference
By doing a year of service, you leave behind the cold study of social problems and meet real people who work to make change happen. With them, you do more than talk about the problem, you become part of real solutions. You become food for hungry families, shelter for homeless people, teacher for the uneducated, translator for the international community, etc. Most volunteers also stress how good it feels to "give back" to the community in appreciation of all the blessings they have received.
A new adventure
Maybe you have always wanted to spend a year or two in another country, learning about a new country. Or maybe you've never lived and worked in the low-income part of town, but feel drawn to experience what that is like. Whether you end up helping farmers to form a co-op in Tanzania or tutor at-risk children in the south side of Chicago or work at a radio station in a part of Alaska where you have to fly in or out because there are no roads to your little town, you are sure to have an adventure!
Live in community with other volunteers
Many volunteer programs provide not only housing, but the great kind of community experience students have grown accustomed to in their years at UD: young adults with similar experiences and values coming home in the evening to talk about the highs and lows of their days. A good number of these programs are run by Christian organizations who encourage the community to share prayer together, share meals together, and go on retreat together.
When else will you do this?
Sure, there are a few people who volunteer in their 30's, 40's, or after they retire, but not many. Family responsibilities, careers, home ownership and other commitments often prevent people from full-time volunteering it later in life. Being in your early 20's, just out of college, is the best time of your life to do something adventurous and rewarding. Because of all the benefits to society and to you, deferments of student loans and graduate/medical/law school acceptance are usually available. So, what are you waiting for?
What about your parents?
You may be sold on the idea of volunteering, but your parents may not be. Many former volunteers have had that experience. While you can't force your parents to support your decision to volunteer, there is much that you can do to gain their respect and support. Here's some advise from former volunteers:
Be organized. Your parents won't take you seriously unless you are serious. Investigate as many programs and positions as possible. Your diligence will impress your parents.
Include them. Your parents need to feel included in your decision. Even after you decided to volunteer, they will need to know that you want them to be a part of your life and that you want their support during your volunteer experience.
Give them time. It took you time to decide to volunteer. Your parents will need time to adjust to the idea too. Even though it is your life, it's important to understand your parents' perspectives. You are probably their most important investment. So, give them time to adjust their expectations for you. You may be surprised at their eventual understanding, or even excitement.
Share your resources. Think about what really made you decide to volunteer and share that with your parents. Introduce them to a person who inspired you to volunteer or share with them a book or article you found helpful.
- Nick Cardilino can help you get started. He can explore with you your reasons for considering a volunteer year, your service and location preferences, and help to match you with some organizations that offer what you're looking for. He can also put you in touch with UD grads who are presently volunteering and some who have returned.
- The Beyond UD Fair will bring representatives from over 40 of these programs to campus for you to speak to. This year's fair is on Wednesday, October 21, 2015 from 7:00-9:00pm in the MAC Gym in the RecPlex. You can go table to table and get a ton of information without feeling any pressure to commit. Don't miss it!
- The Beyond UD Panel Supper will feature a panel of 4 or 5 former volunteers with a wide variety of experiences. Some have volunteered overseas; others in the U.S. Some have served in faith-based programs; others in government-run or civic programs. Some have lived in community with other volunteers; others have lived alone or found their own roommate. Each will speak for about 5 minutes about their experience. The rest of the evening is open to questions from all of those who come to learn more about volunteering. This supper will be in early February. Stay tuned for details.
- Check out the web links below
UD grads from May 2014 currently volunteering
This list is based on information we were given in May 2014. Please contact us if information is missing or incorrect.
Molly Becker-ACE (Alliance for Catholic Education) in Tulsa, OK
Matt Behan-RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities)
Julie Benedetto-Humility of Mary Volunteer Service in Immokalee, FL
Alyssa Bovell-Peace Corps in Jordan
Christine Cirillo-Mercy Volunteer Corps in New York, NY
Stephen Crum-Determined to Develop/Maji Zuwa in Karonga, Malawi
Brendan Dillon-Augustinian Volunteers in San Diego, CA
Rachel Dues-Lalanne Program
Emily Dellanina-Nourish International in Peru
Katie Ellis-Jesuit Volunteer Corps in San Antonio, TX
Megan Garrison-Peace Corps in Mongolia
Liz George-LANCE (Lasallian Association of New Catholic Educators) in Memphis, TN
Beth Golonka-Lalanne Program
Jen Hodulik-Jesuit Volunteer Corps
Julie Iuliano-Dominican Volunteers in Chicago, IL
Kat Kinsel-Camp Gray in Reedsburg, WI
Ashley Klis-Lalanne Program in Charlotte, MI
Kristin Kramer- Lalanne Program in Charlotte, MI
Mark Kristl-Amate House in Chicago, IL
Shannon Lees-Jesuit Volunteer Corps: NorthWest in Tacoma, WA
Nina Lokar-Marist Brothers Center at Esopus in Esopus, NY
Mary Catherine McDonald-Cap Corps Midwest in Nicaragua
Kelly Minarchek-Teach for America in Chicago, IL
Lindsay Moorman-AmeriCorps in Knoxville, TN
Flor Ortega-Maggie’s Place in Cleveland, OH
Mary Ann Piper-Lalanne Program
Jake Rettig-Teach for America in South Carolina
Maggie Rueter- Jesuit Volunteer Corps: NorthWest in Wenatchee, WA
Mike Ryan-Colorado Vincentian Volunteers in Denver, CO
Brittany Sanders-Teach for America in Indianapolis, IN
Claire Shaw-Teach for America in Memphis, TN
Stephanie Sites-Camp Gray in Reedsburg, WI
Gail Susdorf-DOOR (Discovering Opportunities for Outreach and Reflection) in Denver, CO
Emma Vichill-PLACE (Partners in Los Angeles Catholic Education) Corps in Los Angeles, CA
Dominique Williams-Cristo Rey Boston Volunteers in Boston, MA
Margaret Wolpert-Vincentian Volunteers in Manchester, England