Volunteering can help you determine what fields interest you. This can be beneficial if you are unsure of what paths/fields you want to go into or even if you have multiple interests. Now that you know why volunteering is important, where do you start? At first it can be overwhelming because there is no “right” way to begin volunteering or where to look. Look no further! Let’s Go has created this blog to guide you through some steps you can take to find a place for you!
How to Volunteer
- Think about fields that interest you. Medicine, education, law? After you have a vague idea, you can begin searching! It does not have to be super specific (remembering that volunteering is for exploring).
- Use Google to find organizations near you! A simple google search can reveal cites you may have been unaware of entirely. Try something as simple as “immigration law office near
Explore your interests
If you’re still unsure of your interests, you can volunteer to start narrowing your focus. It’s a good idea to expose yourself to what’s out there. In addition, employers and graduate schools alike value experience strongly; the sooner you find a sector/field to grow in, the more impressive you can be!
Now it’s time to enhance your skills! When you begin volunteering, you may find that your responsibilities grow. You will develop skills that school is sometimes unable to teach you. Additionally, these skills are often transferable and can be taken with you at multiple jobs!
Boost your resume
Not to mention, volunteer experience looks great on your resume. It lets employers know that you care about local organizations! Also, it is a good idea to begin volunteering during your high school years or early college years so that you can eventually begin applying for paid internships.
Organizations and companies have tons of connections. belonging to these networks will allow you to have connections within this field that can lead to bigger opportunities.
Let’s Get Started
- First, find your interests:
- Brainstorm the fields that interest you.
- Then, google organizations near you:
- Use Google to find organizations near you! Try something as simple as “immigration law office near me.”
- Finally, send emails:
- Now, go to their website and email them to ask about volunteer opportunities.
- After finding a contact email, try a template like this:
Template for sending an email
This is just one example to get you started! In addition, you can also search up templates for free on Google.
” Hello [person you are addressing]!
My name is [your name] and I am a current [grade level] at [your school]. I am writing to express interest in your organization/company. I have always been interested in [the field the organization is in]. Is there space at [organization/company name] for me to volunteer with your day-to-day tasks?
I would love to chat with you about myself and my current abilities. I look forward to hearing back from you!
[your name] ”
Ultimately, volunteering helps you gain experience! You got this. Best of luck! Go put yourself out there!
According to Help Guide, burnout is “a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.” This can happen in any setting: personal life and obligations, work, and especially school. With having to deal with all the changes due to the pandemic, it is no surprise that many of us have checked out long ago. The lack of physical interaction with family and friends, the change between in-person to virtual work/ school, and the losses of family and loved ones to the pandemic have all left us emotionally vulnerable. On top of this, workplaces and academia are still expecting the same, if not, better results from us which makes dealing with personal issues even harder.
Symptoms of burnout include:
- Feeling tired and drained most of the time.
- Lowered immunity, frequent illnesses
- Frequent headaches or muscle pain
- Change in appetite or sleep habits
- Sense of failure and self-doubt
- Feeling helpless, trapped, and defeated
- Detachment, feeling alone in the world
- Loss of motivation
- Increasingly cynical and negative outlook
- Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment
If you recognize any of these symptoms, you might be facing burnout. As things begin to reopen in California, you might feel rushed to return “back to normal” however, it is ok to still be processing everything that has happened this past year. We are all experiencing this pandemic in a variety of ways and you should not feel rushed into being okay with everything that has happened. For this reason, we advise you to also take a break this summer from academia if that is something you need.
Other ways to confront burnout include:
- Setting boundaries: You don’t have to say yes to everything you are asked to do! Value your needs first.
- Use your time off: Use your pay time off, you earned it! In addition, take a break during the summer! This is the time to recharge and prepare for the upcoming semester.
- Indulge in things you enjoy: Sometimes we feel guilty for “wasting time” on things we enjoy, but there is no waste in doing something that helps/ betters you! You are investing in your well-being and that is valuable.
These are just three tips to avoid burnout but the most important thing is recognizing it is happening. By recognizing it, you are then able to pace yourself and schedule yourself back on track! Burnout is normal and we all experience it, you deserve a break. We all do.
Source: HelpGuide – Burnout Prevention and Treatment
In college, there are programs that provide additional assistance if you or anyone you may know is a current or former foster youth. Programs such as NextUP and Guardian Scholars can offer personalized support throughout your college journey. Being in a community of students and dedicated staff can ensure you get the help that you need. Here’s a breakdown of the programs and how to apply:
What is CAFYES?
- CAFYES(Cooperating Agencies Foster Youth Educational Support) is now known as NextUP. NextUp is a program offered to community college students to provide support services. These services include resources for financial support, transportation, textbooks, supplies, food, and emergency housing.
Who is eligible to apply?
- Former or current foster youth students that attend a California community college may apply if:
- You are a California resident
- You were established or continued as a dependent in court on or after your 16th birthday
- Proof of written verification of foster status(i.e. Court dependency letter)
- Under the age of 26 years old
Where should I apply?
- Students who are interested in applying for this program should visit their local EOPS office for more details.
Guardian Scholars Program
What is the Guardian Scholars Program?
- Guardian Scholars is another program that also caters to foster youth but on a larger scale. This program is available to students who attend community college, a CSU, UC campus or a private university. Services include individualized counseling, housing assistance, financial resources, and community-building workshops/events! The name of this program may vary by campus, but please contact your student services department to point you in the right direction.
Who is eligible to apply?
- Identify as a current or former foster youth that has been in the foster care system or has a status as an Independent, homeless or emancipated
- Able to provide a status verification letter
- Under the age of 26 years old
- Maintain a good academic standing
Where should I apply?
If you are interested in applying, you can visit your campus website and type “Guardian Scholars” in the search bar, or you can contact your Student Affairs department for more details.
NextUP and Guardian Scholars have helped thousands of students across California on their pathway through higher education. Although each campus offers its own particular services, their ultimate goal is to support the personal and academic goals of current or former foster youth students. Find out more information through the links below!
For community college students, click here
For CSU students, click here
For UC students, click here
For private universities, visit the campus website for their eligibility and selection process.
Here are a few examples of program benefits:
LMU Guardian Scholars
Trojan Guardian Scholars
Torero Renaissance Scholars