The Power of Volunteering And How You Can Help


Photo/ St.Jude's Children's Hospital

Many Orono students are involved in the St. Jude Teen Gala, a great way to volunteer locally.

Grace Berbig, Opinions Editor

Grace Berbig
Opinions Editor

There are countless reasons to volunteer and even more ways that you can get involved. Volunteering has many benefits; not only does it impact others, but it has significant benefits on yourself as well.

According to a study done by the University of California-Berkeley and Berlin University, volunteering your time to help others is proven to make you feel healthier and happier. One major benefit of volunteering is the connection built with others\; humans thrive on it, especially high school students. Helping others is a large way to instill connection into your life.

“I am extremely privileged. I think it is so beneficial to give back to your community and to the people who are less fortunate than we are,” senior Isa Chavez said.

One rewarding volunteer opportunity is at the Children’s Hospital of Minnesota. At the Children’s Hospital, you can help children ranging from newborns to 18-year-olds who are struggling with cancer and other illnesses. An impatient “float” volunteer moves to different units of the hospital (depending on need) and serves patients battling all diagnoses.

Some activities may include taking toddlers for walks or stroller rides, playing video games with teenagers, or coloring and playing with kids of all ages. This gives kids a chance to play and just be a kid. Library wagon volunteers can visit each child’s room with the “library wagon” and help them pick out a new book to read. Volunteers can sit with the child and read to them, or simply assist them with picking out a good book to cheer them up.

“I feel very thankful for the opportunity to volunteer for Children’s. I really feel like I am making a difference in the world,” junior Lily Schlobohm said.

In the sibling play area, you can volunteer and assist with activities, which gives special attention to the siblings of patients and helps nurture the relationship between them in the hospital. Another option is to help with the Star-Studio, supporting the live broadcast of the Dude (a silly character who helps to cheer up the patients). Additionally, you can hand out flyers to patients and deliver prizes; all of which are great ways to volunteer.

If you are at least 18 years of age, you can be a Perioperative (pre-surgery) Escort. This job entails helping ensure clear communication between parents of a patient, assisting with childcare of a patient’s sibling, escorting parents to the Surgery Family Waiting Room, and assisting with medical errands.

In order to be a volunteer at the Children’s Hospital of Minnesota, you must be able to commit to a three-hour shift once a week. Donating three hours of your week may sound like a lot, but those three hours could completely change a child’s life. Volunteering allows the opportunity to help the little humans who need it the most. These children are struggling with something that no child should ever have to struggle with, and you can help them feel like a kid again.

“It makes me so happy to see and know that I am making the kids happy,” junior Lillianna Avery said.

Food shelves are another place in need of volunteers. At a food shelf, you can help prepare food, aid in setting up tables and drinks for people in need, greet people as they come in, and distribute meals. According to Hunger MN, one in every ten households go hungry because they do not have the money or resources to obtain food. Hungry families in Minnesota miss over 100 million meals each year. Food shelves such as Loaves and Fishes, ICA Food Shelf, and Second Harvest Heartland are determined to change this.

There are countless more opportunities to volunteer, including the Animal Humane Society, your local schools, after school childcare like OK Kids, and women’s shelters. Being involved with volunteer opportunities such as these can help you truly make a difference in our world.

“If we have the opportunity to give back, we should take that opportunity. Any way to help people is amazing,” said junior Kali Underdahl.