Volunteering. For some, it’s just something to do during the holidays as a way to pay it forward for the blessings you’ve received. For others, it’s a way to kill time. But the reality is, if done properly, it can be so much more rewarding than either of these scenarios. Especially if you’re a military spouse.
A way to make friends.
Volunteering is a great way to immerse yourself in your community and meet new people; something that isn’t always easy when you’re new to an area.
A way to hone your skills.
From volunteering at the base thrift store and learning retail skills, to volunteering at Navy Marine Corps Relief Society to brush up on your office skills, volunteering is a great way to learn new talents that can be added to your resume.
A way to find your passion.
There’s nothing wrong with trying out several organisations to discover who you are and what matters to you. You may love animals, but maybe you realize it’s not for you after spending some time volunteering at your local Humane Society – and that’s okay! Volunteering gives you that flexibility to try new things as well as providing the opportunity to truly love what you’re investing yourself in. Dig in and try a myriad of activities and organizations to find your perfect fit.
Off Base Volunteering Considerations
Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4H, sports teams, etc: Working with kids can be fun and rewarding. You don’t have to be a parent to invest in the kids of your community. If you have a skill that you’d like to share; kids are sponges and a willing audience. From coaching basketball, to teaching sewing lessons, to 4H kids, the possibilities are endless and can truly rewarding.
Humane Society: If you love animals, the Humane Societies are a great place to give back and learn new skills. There’s so many more opportunities than just being a dog walker. Humane Societies often times have fundraisers and are in need of participants to get these going. You can learn marketing, office skills, time management and the event planning process as well… not to mention all the community leaders you’ll get to “rub elbows” with which could lead to great references later.
The Hospital: Candy Stripping can be an old-fashioned notion, but in the medical field, it’s a great start. If you’ve ever thought about working in a medical setting, this a great chance to test out the fit. Not only that, it provides the unique opportunity to introduce you to the right people for future job openings.
Your church: From leading classes and groups to directing the parking lot, many churches need volunteers. It’s a great opportunity to meet others with similar values and impact the lives of many all in one afternoon. Seriously, if you’re going to be there anyway, you might as well build some relationships and use your talents and skills while you’re at it!
On Base Opportunities and Considerations
Navy Marine Corps Relief Society: If you’re hoping to get more involved with your base, learn useful leadership and job skills while making a difference to your fellow service members and their families, Navy Marine Corps Relief Society is for you! You can work in their thrift store (please note not all bases have a NMCRS thrift store so check first!) to their offices helping service members in need of emergency financial aid; you are making a difference daily here.
Family Readiness Assistant: The FRA is a key player in all Marine Corps units. Their efforts aid the families of service members both deployed and at home through unit events, passing on information pertinent to both the base and individual unit as well as being a support system during illnesses, deliveries of babies and any other life changing events. Not all FRO (Family Readiness Officer) programs work the same way, so if you see something you’d like to implement in the unit, speak up and make it happen.
LINKS: Lifestyle Insights, Networking, Knowledge, and Skills (L.I.N.K.S.) is a great starting point for any volunteers looking to home their public speaking and project management skills. Through teaching the Marine Corps lifestyle, you’re helping families adapt to their new surroundings, learn administration and program leadership, as well the building your network in the community.
The list of volunteer opportunities abroad your base is endless. Of course there are more not mentioned, but you can discover more of the programs and organizations by contacting your Marine Corps Family Team Building or your unit FRO.
Whatever program you decide to give your time and energy to, know this: these experiences will provide growth in both your professional and personal skills. You will develop traits valued in all job fields including the confidence and understanding that will shine through everything you do. You will build friendships and professional relationships that will last a lifetime. You’re contributing to your community and touching countless lives. You’re making a difference. And that’s what matters.